Tuesday 17 January 2017

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

Meadhbh McGrath

Published 22/04/2016 | 11:14

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

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.

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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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