El Paso, Texas - An international bike share program could be coming to the borderland in the near future.
Michael Medina, the executive director of the El Paso Metropolitan Planning Organization, said the project would allow residents, either in El Paso or Juarez, to rent a bike and take it across the border.
"From a North American perspective, we would be the first to do it," Medina said. "So if you are in El Paso, you can seamlessly cross into Ciudad Juarez using the bicycle and leave it in Juarez. Ultimately, if you're coming into El Paso from Ciudad Juarez, you can also rent a bike and cross the bridge and then deposit the bicycle wherever your end trip is."
Medina said the project would correlate with the SunCycle bike share program that launched in 2015.
"On the El Paso side I believe there are (already) 16 stations," Medina said. "So if you wanted to start your trip over at the UTEP stations you can deposit the bicycle there and hopefully take the bike back into Juarez."
Medina said the international bike share program would be paid for through a public/private partnership. He said they're hoping a pilot version of the project will launch by the end of the year, if not by spring of next year.
"We would have an element of the governmental bodies in Chihuahua and Ciudad Juarez pay for it," Medina said. In El Paso, they're hoping to collect funds from the private sector.
"We haven't had commitments from anybody. We're still going around and getting consensus, but the ideal goal like we've had a lot of models across the nation is to have that type of partnership because ultimately you can only use federal funds to a certain point," Medina said.
Medina said the pilot program calls for 50 bikes and 5 stations. He said Ciudad Juarez has already committed money for the pilot project, but $80,000 is still needed.
For the bigger picture, Medina said they're looking at about 300 bicycles and 30 stations that would cost about $1 million. A bike's location would be tracked with the help of a GPS device.
Medina said a project like this could attract more businesses to the region.
"We're trying to connect El Paso, Las Cruces and Ciudad Juarez by all possible modes," Medina said.