independent

Friday 18 April 2014

Bike scheme gears up after record-breaking year

Construction of the dublin bikes scheme station at James St East today. Picture credit; Damien Eagers 14/5/09
Construction of a Dublin bikes scheme station.

DUBLIN'S public bicycle scheme has experienced a record-breaking year, with more than 1.5 million journeys taken in 2013.

The busiest day ever for Dublinbikes was in October when almost 7,000 journeys were recorded over 24 hours.

With an average of 4,675 trips a day, it is becoming a serious rival to public transport providers. It is currently undergoing a major expansion.

"October seems to be particularly busy. This may well be due to students returning after the summer break," a Dublin City Council spokesman said.

Figures provided to the Irish Independent show the number of journeys taken since the bike rental initiative began in 2009 is now more than 6,037,199.

"Dublinbikes is provided by (outdoor advertisers) JCDecaux at an estimated cost of €26m over 15 years. There is no cost to Dublin City Council," the council spokesman said.

The latest figures show the scheme has 36,636 long-term subscribers and 10,266 short-term ones.

In the year to the end of November, some 1,519,671 journeys averaging 20 minutes were taken. A massive 95.2pc were under 30 minutes and therefore did not cost anything.

On October 8 last, some 6,973 journeys were taken, beating the previous busiest day -- October 13, 2011 -- when 6,838 trips were recorded.

An extra 50 bikes were available for commuters in the capital at the end of November as part of an expansion.

EXPANSION

In total, six new stations were opened in recent weeks, the first of 58 new stations which will open by July 2014.

The €35m expansion sees the scheme expand west from the city centre towards Heuston Station and east further into the Dublin Docklands.

The system costs €1.9m a year to operate and is funded by subscription fees from the travelling public.

This month, the cost of membership increased to help pay for the expansion.

From December 6, a one-year membership costs €20, while a three-day membership costs €5.

Operators Dublin City Council and JCDecaux announced the changes in November.

The original Dublinbikes scheme had 450 bikes operating from 40 stations. By next July, it will have 1,500 bikes at more than 100 locations.

Irish Independent

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