Bike scheme expansion is ‘a no brainer’

Bike scheme expansion is ‘a no brainer’

Operational costs may be a stumbling block but the roll-out of the Public Bike Scheme to the Rochestown/Passage West greenway is gaining momentum and the National Transport Authority and councillors are keen to extend the scheme. Pic; Larry Cummins

A PUSH to bring the Public Bike Scheme to the Rochestown to Passage West greenway is gaining momentum.

The National Transport Authority (NTA) has said it is keen to extend the scheme but it does not have the funds to provide operational costs and needs local authority backing.

The Ballincollig-Carrigaline municipal district will write to the NTA to request that they roll out the scheme following a motion by Councillor Mary Rose Desmond (FF).

“I would love to see a continuation of the scheme from the city,” she said. “We don’t have enough cycle lanes around the Douglas side and we need to put forward a strong case for this. We have the Maritime Museum in Passage and now there are locations for people to go to. It needs to be looked at again.”

However, in a statement, the NTA stated that while capital funding is available to extend the scheme, operational costings would be a barrier. “It currently costs just over €1m a year, excluding VAT, to operate the three regional schemes in Cork, Limerick and Galway,” the statement said. “The scheme in Cork accounts for over half the overall bike stations and bikes. Extending the scheme further will result in very significant increases in operational costs. Exchequer funding for this scheme is not available to the NTA and local authority support for funding these costs is essential.

Eoghan Jeffers (SF) said the scheme is more successful in Cork than anywhere else outside of Dublin and the NTA would get operational costs back from usage revenue.

“Compared to Limerick and Galway, there is more uptake here. The NTA want to reduce traffic from Douglas, Rochestown and Passage into the city, this is a no-brainer,” he added.

The scheme, sponsored by Coke Zero, has seen hundreds of thousands of trips taken in the city since it was set up in 2014.

Marcia D’Alton (IND) said: “You see Coca-Cola bikes coming down the greenway between Passage and Rochestown all the time so there clearly is a demand.”

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