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Dublin bike scheme is huge success as 25,000 sign up to ride

MORE than 25,000 people are now signed up to the Dublin Bikes scheme -- and only one has been stolen since the launch last summer.

This means that the Dublin project is now one of the most successful of its kind in Europe -- and it will now be expanded in the future.

Dublin City Council hopes to install more docking stations by the end of the year.

The bike that was stolen was soon recovered.



DOCK

Labour councillor Andrew Montague has been involved in promoting the eco-friendly project since its conception.

He said: "The scheme has gone well beyond our expectations.

"Based on other cities, we had hoped to have 1,000 people signed up Christmas, but instead we had 16,000.

"The biggest problem is that stations are full and you can't always drop your bike back in the dock that you want.

"In that case, the kiosk will tell you the nearest docking point and you are given 15 minutes free of charge to find that station."

Council bosses hope to add to the existing stations before the summer, then set up in other areas by the end of the year.

"Firstly, we hope to expand the number of docking posts. There are currently 800 docking points at 40 stations and we want to extend that to 1,100 docking points at 44 stations.

"It will be in the same footprint, for example it may involve putting a second station in Smithfield. In addition to these extra docking stations, we hope to secure another 100 bikes as well," he said.

"After further expansion of the core, we will look at new areas. Initially, further east -- around Heuston station and then further down towards the IFSC and Grand Canal Dock.

"No decisions have been made and there are no official plans in place, but we would hope to have this by the end of the year," he added.

And in spite of their widespread use, there has only been one issue of vandalism, and just two cases where individuals failed to return their bikes before the midnight curfew.

A spokesperson said: "There was only one serious incident, and that was back in October. A bike was reported stolen by a third party while on hire with a member.

"The member did not forfeit their guarantee as the issue wasn't their fault, and the bike was subsequently located."



EMBRACED

The spokesperson went on to say that because of the "awkward" shape and size of the bikes, they are not attractive to thieves.

As Dubliners have embraced the convenient, eco-friendly travel method in their thousands, the capital now has the largest number of city bike users in Europe.

"It is the leading bike usage scheme in Europe. We are by far the most successful and the average usage of bikes in Ireland is one hundred times higher than in any other city," Mr Montague said.

cmcbride@herald.ie


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