With the cost of owning and operating a vehicle ever on the rise, it’s no wonder bike sharing programs are gaining popularity in major metropolitan areas throughout the country. Bike share programs not only help you save hundreds of dollars a month, but also help you fight off cardiovascular diseases and obesity, do your part for the environment, and turn your monotonous commute into an urban adventure. Here in Houston, our own Houston BCycle bike share program offers unlimited trips for under 60 minutes, and even gives members free rides certain days of the year. As BCycle gains popularity, the Houston City Council has now approved a measure to greatly expand their coverage within the city. Is it time to ditch your car?

Maybe, depending on where you live. Today, the Houston City Council voted to approve the $300,000 expansion which will be paid for largely with federal grant funds. The expansion will increase the number of bike sharing stations from 66 to 97, with many of the stations added near Texas Southern University, the University of Houston, Texas Medical Center and UH-Downtown. Houston BCycle also plans to add stations to areas on the Inner Loop which don’t yet have stations.

The expansion will also nearly double the number of bikes in the Houston BCycle fleet from 430 up to 767, meaning a few hundred more cars (and their emissions) could be taken off of Houston roads. Houston BCycle announced the City Council’s approval of the expansion today through their official Twitter account.

Houston BCycle offers memberships as low as $9 a month or $99 annually. Members get their first 30 minutes of any ride free, and pay just $3 for each additional half-hour. If your commute is under 30 minutes each way, you can essentially cover your whole commute for just $9 a month. In addition, the bike share program offers a “Walk-Up Rate” of $3 for 30 minutes for non-members. Sign up now and do your part to help keep Houston fit, clean, and affordable.