Heartland B-cycle is expanding its public bike-sharing system into Sarpy County.
B-cycle stations have been installed in downtown Papillion and at the Papio-Missouri River Natural Resources District headquarters. Both stations are expected to open this week, said Ben Turner, executive director of Heartland B-cycle.
“It’s part of a broader reach of our program,” he said.
B-cycle stations allow users to rent bikes for a fee and ride them for as long as they like. The bikes can be returned to any B-cycle kiosk when riders are finished.
The bulk of the bike-sharing system’s stations are in downtown Omaha. They’re intended for transportation and recreational use.
Sarpy stations are geared toward recreation, though a city spokesman called the downtown Papillion location a first step in public transportation.
City and NRD officials approached Heartland B-cycle about the project. The kiosks and bicycles are owned by the City of Papillion and the NRD. Papillion paid $27,000 for its six bikes and nine-stall kiosk. The NRD paid $33,000 for its eight bikes and 11-stall kiosk. Heartland B-cycle will be responsible for maintenance and upkeep of the equipment.
City leaders chose the downtown spot near First and Washington Streets because of its central location in the city and close proximity to the trail system.
“It’s another way of encouraging our residents to be active,” city spokesman Trenton Albers said. “Our residents have an opportunity where they can take a B-cycle and they can explore some different areas of Papillion.”
Albers said the city is considering kiosks at Shadow Lake Towne Center, Werner Park and Prairie Queen Recreation Area, among others.
The NRD station is at Chalco Hills Recreation Area, near 154th Avenue and Giles Road. It’s a pilot project at the recreation area, said natural resources planner Eric Williams.
“Not everyone can easily make it to one of those recreation areas or easily transport their bike to recreation areas,” Williams said. “We’re glad to be able to provide that for people here when they come to visit the lake.”
Heartland B-cycle has 199 bikes and 35 stations in Omaha, Council Bluffs and Sarpy County.
To rent a B-cycle, users must purchase a pass, which includes the first hour of the ride. Additional hours cost $4.
A 24-hour pass costs $6. Monthly passes cost $10, and a yearly pass is $80.
Kiosks give users the option to rent bikes using credit or debit cards.