City bicycle scheme moves up a gear -- but so does the price
EXTRA bikes will be available for commuters in the capital as part of the expansion of the Dublin Bikes scheme -- but the cost is doubling.
The city's Lord Mayor Oisin Quinn officially opened the first of the new stations yesterday at North Wall Quay in the Docklands, with almost 1,000 extra bikes to be added by next summer.
Six new stations will be open from the middle of December, with further stations planned at Clonmel Street, York Street West, York Street East, Great Strand Street, North Wall Quay at Excise Walk, Fenian Street, Grattan Street and Mount Street Lower.
Some 36,000 people are members of the scheme. This is expected to double, but the annual membership is rising from €10 to €20 from December 6 next.
Three-day membership of the scheme will more than double from €2 to €5.
Members have taken over six million Dublin Bikes journeys since the scheme opened in September 2009, making it one of the most successful in the EU.
"Today Dublin City Council and JCDecaux are announcing the opening of the excellent new Dublin Bikes station with 40 bike stands at North Wall Quay in the Docklands," Mr Quinn said.
"We are also opening a new station today at Deverell Place, off Gardiner Street, and an extension to the popular Talbot Street station. These are the first of 58 new Dublin Bikes stations which will open between now and July 2014."
The expansion will see 58 new stations and 950 new bikes added to the current 550 bikes and 44 stations.
The €35m expansion will see the scheme expand west from the city centre towards Heuston Station and east further into the Dublin Docklands.
The original Dublin Bikes scheme was provided by French advertising giant JCDecaux following a tendering process.
The company provided €26m in cash to fund the stations, civic advertising signage worth €23.5m and a way-finding system for tourists at €4.1m in exchange for advertising concessions.
Four more stations and 100 bikes were added in 2010. The latest expansion will be funded through a combination of grants from the National Transport Authority, money from Dublin City Council, membership fees and sponsorship.
The system costs €1.9m a year to operate.
Joanne Grant, managing director of JCDecaux Ireland said: "We would like to thank our subscribers for their support and the people of Dublin for recognising the positive impact that Dublin Bikes has had on city life here in the capital."
Larger stations are a feature of the expansion and will improve capacity considerably during morning, lunch and evening periods of peak demand.
JCDecaux said it was in discussions with a number of "high-profile" brands, with a view to finding a suitable commercial partner. The package will include joint naming rights and branding on bikes.