Cork County Council is to write to City Hall encouraging the council to carry out a feasibility study on the extension of the Coke Zero Bike Scheme on country areas that will become part of the city this June.
Councillors of the Ballincollig/Carrigaline Municipal District decided to write to the city following a letter from the National Transport Authority (NTA) that suggested local authorities contribute to the running costs of the bike scheme.
The NTA explained the operating costs for the bike share scheme is €1.1m across Cork, Limerick and Galway and half the overall costs get covered by Coca Cola sponsorship plus membership subscriptions.
The rest is funded by the NTA and the money comes from various other budgets within the organisation, which it says is not a sustainable position.
In response to the NTA’s explanation, Senior Executive Officer for the Municipal District Jim Molloy said: “It is what it is.”
“It was a good, detailed response back from them and essentially what it boils down to is if local authorities want to get involved they would be more than happy for the local authority to get involved and to provide funding.
“They have no problem running the capital side of things, and providing the capital infrastructure, but the running costs are escalating an awful lot in relation to distance and you find bikes are heading in one direction and aren’t coming back in another.
“Obviously, we don’t have funding in our municipal district for that.” Councillor Mary Rose Desmond suggested a feasibility study which was well received by the room, however, Mr Molloy pointed out that the primary local authority would be the city council.
Mr Molloy then suggested the Municipal district write to the city council and ask them to look at some of the areas and examine the scheme in more detail.
Mrs Rose Desmond agreed with the suggestion and said it was great to see the bike scheme was already being extended to Kent Station “I think is a very sensible move as well so I think something should be communicated to the city that we think it is an area that should be looked at.” Councillor Eoin Jeffers also agreed.
“It does make sense to engage with the city and pass on this information and indicate that members of this municipal district feel fitting that a feasibility study would work on it.” Mr Jeffers said that it was an issue that the NTA was not able to stretch to covering the maintenance costs of the bike scheme.
“If we are ever going to get to a place where we have sustainable alternative transport arrangement, there will have to be more effort by the NTA for operational costs because we all know the local authorities are under so much stress in terms of what they can financially do.
“If it is feasible for them to fund part of it going forward that would be very much welcome.” The upcoming city expansion will see the City grow to 187km2, almost five times larger than it is at present.
With this expansion, the population of the city will grow by 85,000 to 210,000 in June 2019. However, the city is expected to further grow over the next two decades to around 350,000.