- Associated Press - Wednesday, October 8, 2014

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) - An Omaha bike-sharing program is crossing over the Missouri River and expanding into Iowa.

The program, originally called Omaha B-cycle, was renamed Heartland B-cycle to reflect the expansion into Council Bluffs, Iowa. The bike sharing program said it’s adding 20 new bike stations, 14 in Omaha and six in Council Bluffs. The stations’ installations are expected to start next month, between Nov. 10 and Nov. 21.

Currently, 57 bikes are available at Omaha’s 11 stations. Heartland B-cycle said it hasn’t bought more bikes yet for the stations but expects to next year.

During a news conference Tuesday at the Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge that connects the two cities, Omaha Mayor Jean Stothert said that Heartland B-Cycle is the second bike sharing program to operate in more than one state. The other is Capital Bikeshare, which operates in Maryland and Virginia, as well as Washington, D.C.

Those interested in using the bike sharing program must buy a daily, monthly or annual pass. They can check out a bike from any station, ride it and return it to any station in Omaha or Council Bluffs.

Stothert said the bike sharing program benefits Omaha by luring more people and businesses to the area.

“It helps our community remain competitive with other cities that want to attract and retain talent,” she said.

Heartland B-Cycle raised more than $1 million over 13 months to fund the expansion.

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