Sunday 23 July 2017

Dublin Bikes users could face whopping 50pc hike in subscription fees

Coca-Cola Zero dublinbikes scheme card, DublinBikes.ie
Coca-Cola Zero dublinbikes scheme card, DublinBikes.ie

Meadhbh McGrath

Dublin City Council is to propose a 50pc price hike in Dublin Bikes subscription fees, as part of a €100m expansion plan for the scheme.

The new funding strategy could also see advertising panels installed around College Green and Grafton Street.

The Irish Times reports that the scheme, which currently costs members €20 per annum, is set to rise to €25 this year and €30 next year.

This represents a 50pc increase on the current subscription fee, and three times the original €10 fee when the scheme was initially launched in 2009.

However, the proposal does not include plans to raise the €5 three-day subscription or the per hour charges.

The Dublin Bikes scheme is estimated to cost €1.9m a year to run, a cost met by a combination of annual subscriber memberships, short-term memberships, usage fees and corporate sponsorship.

While subscriptions and user charges cover €1.2m and Coca-Cola Zero contributes €312,000 in sponsorship, Dublin City Council is subventing the scheme and paid a reported €376,211 in 2015.

The council is considering removing its subvention and increasing the annual subscription, in a proposal that will be presented to the Strategic Policy Committee (SPC) next Tuesday.

“It’s one of many proposals in the report to the SPC, it’s not the only proposal," a spokesperson from the DCC told Independent.ie.

If the annual subscription is raised by €10 for all existing members, it would generate an extra €580,000 which the Times notes would not cover the planned expansion to the suburbs.

In 2010, Dublin City Council released a planning framework laying out plans to extend the scheme northwards to Whitehall and DCU and southwards to Clonskeagh.

The planned expansion was expected to take place over a 10-year period, bringing the number of bikes from 1,500 to 5,000.

Such an extension is estimated to cost €100m, and the council is proposing to introduce advertising panels along busy traffic routes and “key civic/retail quarters” around the city centre including O’Connell Street, College Green and Grafton Street.

The report notes that such advertising would have to potential to “full or part-fund all remaining expansion phases”.

A spokesperson from the National Transport Authority said there are no plans to propose a price increase for the Coca-Cola Zero bike schemes in Cork, Limerick and Galway.

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