Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Questions (52)

Eoghan Murphy


52. Deputy Eoghan Murphy asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if he will provide an update on the extension of the city bikes scheme to counties Cork, Galway and Limerick. [15064/14]

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Written answers (Question to Transport)

The Programme for Government contains a commitment to "look to extend the Dublin Bikes Scheme across the wider Dublin area and to other cities and integrate the scheme much more effectively with public transport links."  

I am pleased to report that my Department along with the National Transport Authority has made significant progress on finalising proposals for the provision of public bikes schemes in Limerick, Cork and Galway.  The NTA has recently undertaken a tender competition for the supply, installation, operation and maintenance of bike share schemes in those cities. Tenders sought from five shortlisted candidates were received by the NTA in February of this year. The assessment of the tenders is due to be concluded shortly. It is anticipated that construction of the bike schemes will commence shortly thereafter with the schemes becoming operational later this year.

Funding  to meet the capital investment costs of public bikes in other cities has been identified within the 5-year capital allocation for Smarter Travel and Carbon Reduction Measures announced in 2012.  The delivery of the Regional Cities Bike Scheme was also dependent 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.  I was delighted to be able to report last September 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 city's natural and built environment.  Public bike schemes have the potential to enhance the city centres and provide a significant boost to the development of a cycling culture.  They also add to the tourism offering in those cities.  It has been  over 4 years since the launch of Dublin Bikes.  It has been a resounding success with over 5 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.