Want to explore downtown Omaha on bike wheels?
B-Cycle, the city's public bicycle sharing system, is adding bike rental stations at 1819 Farnam St., 13th and Howard Streets and near the Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge.
“We're expanding and we are really excited to add these three stations to downtown Omaha,” said Ben Turner, Omaha B-Cycle director.
Five stations in the Aksarben area, the pilot project in Omaha, have been popular.
“People really like the program. There are 1,200 rides each year,” Turner said. “Things keep getting better. By adding three stations, we are taking the first step to a broader program and serving the needs of the city.”
The downtown stations open today at noon with a ceremony at the Greater Omaha Chamber of Commerce courtyard, 456 S. 13th St.
Turner said the public is invited to the ceremony, which will include a demonstration of the bike sharing program.
B-Cycle is a national organization that provides bicycles and rental systems for several bike-share programs across the country.
Turner said he'd like to eventually have 60 to 70 stations with 300 to 350 bikes available in Omaha.
Omaha B-Cycle was created in 2011 by the Community Bike Project and Live Well Omaha, with funding from Blue Cross Blue Shield of Nebraska and UNO student government.
Turner said support from Alegent Creighton Health, Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail and the National Park Service helped make the downtown expansion possible.
Here's how the program works:
People can rent a bicycle from one of five stations in central Omaha and the three downtown, ride the bike and return it to any station for a fee. It's designed for short commutes, but it can also be used for longer trips and recreational use.
A B-Cycle 24-hour access pass costs $6 and is good for unlimited one-hour trips. Each additional hour is $4. Memberships also are available for $55 annually. Kiosks at the stations explain the rental process.
In central Omaha, the bikes are available at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Nebraska at Aksarben Village; Aksarben Cinema; on Center Street, next to Wohlner's Grocery in Aksarben Village; the University of Nebraska at Omaha's Pacific Street campus; and the UNO Dodge Street campus.
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