700 public bikes to be rolled out nationwide
MORE than 700 public bikes for hire will be in place in Galway, Cork and Limerick within six months.
The National Transport Authority (NTA) has reached agreement with the An Rothar Nua consortium to provide hundreds of bikes from this autumn, under a scheme to be called Coke Zero Bikes.
The scheme, similar to the hugely successful Dublin Bikes initiative, will involve 320 bikes in Cork across 31 stations, another 215 in Limerick across 23 locations, and 205 in Galway, available in 19 areas.
The cost of annual membership will be a maximum of €10.
A total of 200,000 people travel by car less than 4km per day, according to the last census, and the scheme is designed to offer these motorists an alternative.
Public Transport Minister Alan Kelly said it was a "major development" and would help promote cycling in the cities.
An Rothar Nua consortium includes the Galway-based West Ireland Cycling Ltd; Tracetel SA (France), which operates similar schemes in Lille, Rennes and Bordeaux; Centre d'Initiative et Gestion Locale (Luxembourg) and Mobile Research Solutions Limited, which trades as ParkbyText and is based in Dublin.
The contract is structured to allow for the introduction of schemes in other cities – such as Waterford – in the future.
Supply and installation will cost €4.5m, and it will cost about €1.25m a year to operate.