1,000 more rental bikes heading for city streets
AN EXTRA 1,000 city bikes will be on the streets of the capital by the end of 2012.
Dublin City Council is pushing ahead with plans for an extension to the hugely popular scheme, despite its financial difficulties.
The next phase of the scheme will remain at a low cost to users and will stretch from Dublin's Docklands to Kilmainham, said Jim Keogan, executive manager in the city council's planning department.
The number of bike stations will be increased from 44 to 100 and will be linked around the Docklands, Connolly Station and Heuston Station.
The scheme will be expanded tenfold in the next five years and it will eventually link University College Dublin (UCD), Belfield to Dublin City University (DCU), Glasnevin.
Mr Keogan told the Herald: "We've developed a strategy to expand the scheme and it went before the council late last year, and the city council has agreed the expansion.
"It provides an additional 5,000 bikes and a total of 300 stations. The current scheme is 550 bikes and 44 stations. It's a fairly ambitious expansion plan.
"The first phase will expand eastwards into the Docklands area and westwards to the Heuston area, where there'll be an additional 1,000 bikes and 100 stations.
"We're working on this now and hoping to start implementing it at the end of this year and we're hoping it'll be operational by the end of next year."
Mr Keogan said that major third-level institutions and financial services firms were interested in financing parts of the scheme, in exchange for bike stations being located near their offices.
The city council is also currently in talks with advertising giant JCDecaux which financed and maintains the current bikes scheme.
"There will be two aspects of financing. The physical infrastructural cost and the installation cost. We're in discussions with a number of agencies to see how to finance it. We're also getting advice as to how we'd best be able to finance it."