Photo courtesy Capital Metro
On Aug. 6, Capital Metro will open a new bike shelter at the MetroRail Red Line Kramer Station that will be available for an annual rental fee. The shelter will be one of as many as six to open throughout Austin at various Red Line stops and Park & Rides during the next two years.
"Through observation, we know that Kramer Station experiences the highest volume of bikes getting on and off the train," spokeswoman Erica Macioge said.
She attributes this to the area's major employers and destinations that are not within walking distance, such as Austin Community College's Northridge campus, The Domain, IBM, Texas Culinary Academy and the JJ Pickle Research Center.
The fully enclosed shelter has card-key access as well as 24-hour camera surveillance. Up to 24 bikes may be stored at a time, and the facility features a sitting area for changing shoes and a work bench for minor bike repairs. Reserving a spot at the shelter right now will cost $30 per year, though that price would eventually go up, Macioge said. The transit agency has not decided by how much to raise the rate or when it would do so.
One of the goals of having the shelter is to increase the carrying capacity of the train. For each bicycle stored at the shelter versus being carried onboard, cyclists make room for four additional people to ride the train, according to Capital Metro.
The agency does not currently have a way to measure bike ridership on the train.
"There has been a consistent increase in the number of bikes being transported on the train, and nearly all of them are being used for at least one leg of the commute to [or] from a person’s final destination," Macioge said.
There are already some standard bike racks near Kramer Station; 75 percent of respondents to a cyclist survey conducted by Capital Metro in 2011 said a lack of secure bike parking was a barrier to taking transit.
The shelters are primarily being funded by a $554,000 federal grant.