DUBLIN'S public bike-hire scheme has enjoyed a record-breaking year as an expansion has allowed it to top two million journeys.
Some 2,100,199 journeys using dublinbikes were taken up to October, with October 6 being the busiest day of the year so far, with 15,441 trips completed.
The popular service, which has since expanded to Cork, Galway and Limerick, has now passed eight million journeys in the capital since it launched in 2009, with an average of 7,555 bike rides a day.
While customers must pay a deposit of €20 to use the service, approximately 95pc of journeys are completely free-of-charge as they begin and are completed within 30 minutes.
As part of a €35m expansion programme within the capital, the number of stations has more than doubled, growing from 58 to 100 within the past year with the number of bikes almost trebling to 1,500.
The service, which reached 50,000 long-term subscribers last month, now reaches the Docklands to the East and Heuston Station to the West, allowing customers to travel the full breadth of the city centre on two wheels and under their own steam. A one-year membership is now €20, while a three-day membership costs €5. The original scheme had 450 bikes operating from 40 stations.
Dublinbikes is provided by outdoor advertisers JCDecaux at an estimated cost of €26m over 15 years. In June, Coca- Cola Zero became the service's commercial partner in a deal worth €2m.
The scheme was announced by Dubin City Council in 2006 when JCDecaux received 72 free advertising spaces around Dublin in a 15-year deal in return for the advertising company's funding of the project.
Yesterday, the first bike rental scheme outside of Dublin was rolled out in Galway.
The National Transport Authority is hoping that the environmentally friendly plan will follow the success of the initiative in Dublin. When the scheme is fully operational, there will be 195 bikes for hire at 19 stations, all of them in and around the city centre.
Transport, Tourism and Sport Minister, Paschal Donohoe pointed out that further stations in outlying areas, such as Salthill, could be added in time. Most of the 19 stations were completed ahead of yesterday's launch. Galway bike users will pay a registration fee of €10 to subscribe to the service and pay charges if they rent a bike for more than 30 minutes at a time, but a discounted registration fee of €5 a year is on offer until the end of this year.
Speaking at yesterday's Galway launch, Transport Minister Pascal Donohoe described as "remarkable" the success of the scheme in Dublin, with the recent doubling of the number of stations and a trebling of the number of bikes to meet demand.