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Bikes scheme to have 5,000 cycles within four years

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Right gear: Liisa Siippaien takes a spin at Smithfield. Photo: Caroline Quinn

Right gear: Liisa Siippaien takes a spin at Smithfield. Photo: Caroline Quinn

Right gear: Liisa Siippaien takes a spin at Smithfield. Photo: Caroline Quinn

THE popular dublinbikes scheme is set to have 5,000 bicycles within four years.

There are 550 bikes available at the moment across the city's 99 stations.

Now the scheme is undergoing its phase-three expansion which will take the number of bikes from its current level to 1,500 by June with 102 stations.

However, such is the popularity of the scheme that Lord Mayor Oisinn Quinn said there will be 5,000 bikes across the city and into the suburbs by 2017 at the latest.

Realistic

"The ultimate objective is to bring the numbers up to 5,000 – that's the realistic estimate that we have," said Mr Quinn.

"That will be a very big scheme and it will be nearly 10 times greater than the 550 that we started at."

The Lord Mayor said the 5,000 mark is a planned initiative and that the figure was decided on as the maximum number of bikes the city's traffic plan could contend with.

Junior Transport Minister Alan Kelly said the scheme is one of the most successful in the world.

"It has raised awareness of cycling in general in Dublin and the number of cyclists has gone up by over 40pc since its introduction," he said.

"Motorists have even changed their behaviour and are more accommodating of cyclists, and the general visibility of cycling has come on.

"Cycling has taken off massively in this country thanks to dublinbikes and other measures.

"I expect the expansion over the next few years to be a huge success."

On March 12, dublinbikes recorded a record number of trips in one day, with 7,642 journeys being made.

Mr Quinn described the figure as "great", saying "we know the demand is there".

"I expect the record will be broken further come the summer," he added.

"With the longer evenings coming in and better weather, more people use the bikes and also with more on the road by June."

The scheme is in talks with a major sponsor to fund the next big expansion.

It is understood that negotiations are in final stages.

In New York the bike scheme is sponsored by Citi Bank and in London it is supported by Barclays Bank.

Mr Quinn is himself an avid user of dublinbikes, hiring them several times a week to get around the city.

Free

Since launching in 2009, dublinbikes has been widely recognised as one of the most successful city cycling schemes worldwide.

To date, more than six million journeys have been made and there are more than 36,000 active long-term subscribers, with 95pc of journeys taking less than 30 minutes.

Any journey under 30 minutes is free.

The latest expansion which started last November will see stations reach as far west as Heuston Station and as far east as the Docklands.

NEWS@HERALD.IE


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