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Free bikes pioneer peddles his vision across whole city

THE man who pioneered the Dublin Bikes scheme wants the entire city "covered" with bikes within five years.

Talks are already under way between interested parties and Dublin City Council (DCC) about the expansion of the hugely successful scheme.

Labour Cllr Andrew Montague said the environmentally-friendly scheme should be expanded right across Dublin.

He told the Herald: "My target is in five years time to have the whole city covered by the scheme. It could be with JC Decaux or with other companies, we're open minded.

"We're looking at how we could finance it over the entire city. Work has started on the next expansion and in six weeks the new bikes will be installed."

The latest phase will comprise an extra 100 bikes, four new stations, and 300 more docking points on the streets.

Smithfield and Eccles Street will each acquire another station under the expansion, and one will also be installed at Charlemont and Richmond Street.

Demand for the service has increased the pressure being put on the system's capacity, according to a Dublin City Council (DCC) spokesperson.

Meanwhile, Cllr Edie Wynne (FG) has proposed that the scheme be extended to beyond the city's canals.

She said: "It seems to me if JC Decaux can advertise there that the bikes should also be made available outside the canal. The residents want it, they like it and they want to see it expanded."

Cllr Wynne has proposed this expansion in a motion for next Monday's monthly meeting of the council. She added: "People around Sandymount and Rathgar have said that they would like to see it extended. I'm going to put a question in and try and argue for it. I'll be looking for the support of the other Fine Gael councillors before the meeting."

The DCC spokesperson said while there are currently "no definite plans" to expand the scheme itself, options will be looked at in the future.