City of Edinburg joins UTRGV's bike share program

Edinburg residents will now be able to participate in UTRGV's bike share initiative.

The city of Edinburg has partnered up with the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley to offer not only students, but Edinburg residents a new way to get around the city.

"During the first four months of the project, the BikeShare RGV has provided over 3,400 rides,” said Executive Director of UTRGV Auxiliary Business Services Robert Cantu. “They’ve eliminated four tons of CO2 emissions, and riders have burned over 2.4 million calories.”

The bike-sharing initiative was presented as a simple idea by UTRGV environmental science students, and was first launched at UTRGV's Brownsville, Harlingen, and Edinburg campuses in August of last year.

"The bike essentially takes my travel to class--which used to take 10 to 15 minutes-- it cuts it down to at most six,” said UTRGV student Jorge Ochoa.

In early January, the city council approved a two-year agreement to join BikeShare Rio Grande Valley at a cost of $68,400.

"We want to really improve the quality of life for our region,” Cantu said. “We're very interested in eliminating or controlling obesity and diabetes in the Rio Grande Valley.”

The program managed by Zagster Inc. allows people to ride anytime, anywhere, by simply using the Zagster app.

Ponciano Longoria is the city's director of engineering. Longoria’s role was to locate and identify four suitable bike share locations throughout Edinburg.

"We chose the four locations for reasons like there's a bike lane, there's a hike and bike trail, and easy access, proximity to schools,” Longoria said.

The 37 one-mile-long bike lanes throughout the city include locations at McIntyre Street in front of the Edinburg Fire Department, Freddy Gonzalez Memorial Park, Bicentennial Park on Sprague Street, and by South Middle School on Freddy Gonzalez Drive and 4th Street.

Ochoa said he uses the bike share initiative every time he's on campus.

"The cost of it is honestly really great for annual,” Ochoa said. “Monthly is alright, but the annual is the best deal and they provide a great method of transport to a fairly moderately large campus.”

The bikes, already in service, can be returned to any of the bike stations throughout the city.

The fee to use a bike is $2 an hour or $35 for a yearly subscription with Zagster Inc. The city plans on adding additional bike share stations in the future.

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