herald

Thursday 23 November 2017

'Reckless' jibe as bike wars to hit city streets

BleeperBike held a launch but has not started operating, despite the appearance of a bike in Dublin 8
BleeperBike held a launch but has not started operating, despite the appearance of a bike in Dublin 8

Rival firms in the race to win the Dublin bike-share market are locked in a war of words.

BleeperBike was accused of being "reckless" by competitor Gobee.Bike after the city council warned it was illegal to roll out its scheme as planned.

BleeperBike boss Hugh Cooney - whose company plans to operate via mobile apps showing bike locations - is due to see council chiefs on Monday after the roll-out was halted last week and a planned meeting put back.

Hong Kong rival Gobee.Bike has tried to muscle in, and has hit out at its rival's tactics in a letter seen by the Herald.

Competition from other bike rental companies is a major reason for Mr Cooney's attempt to launch his own scheme as soon as possible.

He told the Herald that he wanted to ensure that his company was at the forefront because those who were first would claim the trust of the market.

However, last week's anticipated launch was barred by Dublin City Council because the necessary new bylaws had not been fully prepared.

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In a number of statements, the council threatened to remove any BleeperBikes from the streets if they were there without permission.

Photos obtained by the Herald show a BleeperBike parked on Thomas Street, Dublin 8.

However, a spokeswoman for the company has insisted that Mr Cooney personally ensured all bikes had now been removed from the streets until further notice.

The head of European Operations at GoBee.Bike, Malone Gampel, has written to the council, saying: "We are fully aware of the recent events that occurred with BleeperBike, who attempted to recklessly launch its service in your city.

"We would be honoured to introduce ourselves to your department in the best possible way and discuss how we can fully cooperate together, as we are doing with local government bodies in Hong Kong."

BleeperBike was contacted about the comments in the letter.

However, the company had not responded at the time of going to press.

Mr Gampel emphasised that his company worked closely with the government in the autonomous Chinese territory.

"GoBee.Bike was launched two months ago in Hong Kong and has proven to be successful in the management of its operation," he said.

"This success is the result of one, the full co-operation and regular contact with Hong Kong government representatives and two, the creation of a community of bike users that helps us improve our operations day after day."

The bylaws, which have so far put a brake on the bike rental schemes, are due to be considered at the next city council transportation committee meeting.

The council expects to have a report in place with a draft of the bylaws ready to be circulated to councillors by Tuesday.

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