CONTRACTS will be awarded early next year for the supply and installation of 200 bikes for Limerick’s public bike-sharing scheme.
Over 20 docking stations will also be provided around the city as the government looks to build on the success of DublinBikes by repeating the trick in Limerick, Cork and Galway. The scheme will allow subscribers to hire out bikes at little or no cost for trips around Limerick.
Minister of State for Public Transport Alan Kelly said it remained the hope that the scheme - which is being sponsored by Coca-Cola in the provincial cities - would be up and running by July 2014.
“Work is well advanced within the National Transport Authority on finalising proposals for the rollout of public bikes in regional cities,” the Minister of State said in a written reply to a parliamentary question from Deputy Jerry Buttimer.
“Significant progress has been made in relation to the award of the contract for the supply, installation, operation and maintenance of the bike schemes. It is hoped that this contract can be awarded early in 2014 with construction to commence shortly thereafter. Funding to meet the capital investment costs of public bikes in other cities has been identified within the five-year capital allocation for smarter travel and carbon reduction measures announced in 2012.
“The delivery of the regional cities bike scheme was also dependant on a separate process to explore the potential for a sponsorship contract to defray some of the costs associated with the introduction of the scheme. This process has been completed and I was delighted when it was announced recently that Coca Cola emerged as the successful sponsor for the scheme. The vision behind the scheme is to develop an environmentally friendly means of public transport that is healthy, relatively inexpensive and will ensure an improved quality of life in each of the cities’ natural and built environment,” stated the Tipperary North TD.
An initial capital outlay of €4 million will see 700 bikes provided in the three cities while the schemes will require a further €900,000 annual funding which will be met through the exchequer and sponsorship. Coca-Cola has agreed to invest €3 million over five years.
A similar scheme has been up and running in Dublin for four years and has been described by Minister Kelly as “a resounding success with over five million rentals since its launch and 35,000 long-term subscribers”.
“Dublin City Council has reported a 40% increase in numbers cycling in the city over the last four years. I look forward to hearing of similar results when the bike schemes are up and running in Limerick, Cork and Galway.”