No Dublin Bikes stations for the suburbs 'unless funding is found'
Dublin Bikes can not expand without help from the National Transport Authority (NTA), says Dublin Lord Mayor Brendan Carr.
Any hope of rolling out the popular bike scheme further to suburbs will likely require funding from the NTA as Dublin City Council currently spends upwards of €350,000 to keep the current 101 stations open.
"It is hitting the budget of the council… and while it is worth it at the moment as we're getting cars off the roads and helping to improve the health of the city, there is a major cost to the city even with the current sponsorship of the bikes," the Lord Mayor told the Herald.
"The scheme has become a major cog in the city's public transport system and an objective of the NTA is to get people using public transport, so I do believe that they should come in and assist [with funding]."
The city's bike scheme currently costs €1.9m a year to run, with subscriptions and usage charges coming to €1.2m.
Coca Cola pays €312,000 for its advertising on the bikes and stations, with the council covering the remaining shortfall.
"We're happy to ask anyone to come in and help fund public transport, but it is costing money to put the scheme on, so if the NTA could come in and assist we'd be delighted," Mr Carr added.
NTA chief executive Anne Graham said she would "of course love to provide funding" for DublinBikes to expand but "maintenance costs" for the programme were an issue.
"Where do you find the funding for that? Does it go on to the users? We need to find the appropriate funding model for Dublin Bikes in the future," she added.
From today, commuters can use a Leap card to collect a bike at any of the Dublin Bike scheme's 101 stations across the city. The caveat is that Leap card accounts can not be used to pay for bike trips, as the system currently still only operates for Dublin Bus, Dart and Luas services.
Instead Dublin Bikes customer accounts will continue to be the source of payment.
However, Leap cards can now hold registration details for both schemes.
"People can use the bike to a certain point, jump on a bus or Luas, then get a train if needs be, all with the same smart card," Mr Carr said.
"People have been calling for it for a long time and after a long testing period we've got it sorted now. Hopefully people will see the advantage of using the system."