World-beating bike scheme about to get 10 times bigger
MORE than 3,300 journeys a day are being made on the dublinbikes rental scheme, and nearly all of them are free.
The bike rental scheme is now one of the most successful in the world, with more than 55,000 people signed up, Dublin City Council said yesterday -- and it will soon get 10 times bigger.
Subscribers pay €10 a year for annual membership, while people can also take out a three-day ticket for €2. Payment is taken from a credit card used to subscribe to the service, but trips less than 30 minutes in duration attract no charge.
A fee of 50c applies for one-hour trips, rising to €6.50 for up to four hours.
But the council said yesterday that 97pc of all trips made were free, as the average trip lasted just 13 minutes.
It added that since the scheme went live in September 2009, just over two million journeys have been made, with each of the 550 bikes used an average of 8.8 times per day.
"The one million milestone was reached in August 2010, meaning the pace at which the bikes are being rented has picked up even further this year, with that record doubling in just nine months," spokesman Michael Sands said.
"The two million mark was reached at 2.10pm on Thursday, with a seven-minute journey from Parnell Square North to Smithfield North."
The council plans a tenfold expansion of the scheme from 550 at present to 5,000 bikes, available for use across the city.
The five-year plan will increase the number of stations from 41 locations to 300, bringing the service into the suburbs.
The expansion will be phased over a period of up to five years, and tenders will be sought at the end of the year for the first of the new stations. They are expected to be located from Heuston Station to the Docklands.
The bikes and the stations have been funded by French advertising giant JC Decaux, which won the contract in return for advertising space in the city.
Many of the new stations are expected to be funded by the Department of Transport and National Transport Authority.
A recent survey by Dublin City Council showed that 95pc of people felt positive about dublinbikes and the proposed expansion.
"The success of dublinbikes continues to exceed expectations," Lord Mayor Gerry Breen said.
"It has re-introduced the bicycle as a form of transport in the city and has encouraged both Dubliners and visitors to get more active while supporting a green initiative."
A record 6,043 journeys were taken on Friday, April 15 last, the busiest day so far.
A total of 17 stations will be closed from 2pm on Monday, until Wednesday morning May 25 to facilitate the visits of Queen Elizabeth and US President Barack Obama.
They are Christchurch Place, High Street, Custom House Quay, Dame Street, Fownes Street Upper, Georges Quay, Leinster Street South, Custom House, Cathal Brugha St, Merrion Square West, Molesworth St, Mountjoy Square, Ormond Quay Upper, Parnell Square North, Pearse Street, Princess Street and Talbot Street.
Access to other stations may also be restricted.