THE Public Bike Scheme should be extended to Douglas to help ease traffic between the village and the city centre, a county councillor has said.
The bike scheme has proved hugely popular in Cork city with 10,000 people subscribing and 720,000 trips recorded in two and a half years since its launch in 2014.
The area of Douglas is set to be subsumed into the city under a revised boundary extension in June 2019 and Councillor Eoghan Jeffers (SF) said the existence of cycle lanes means the area is primed for a docking station.
“The National Transport Authority (NTA) is considering other areas in Cork that would be suitable for docking stations and one area that would be perfect for a station is Douglas. Douglas is the perfect example of large suburban expansion from the city and the route to the city is choked from traffic,” said Mr Jeffers.
“Cork City Council already spent monies on improving the route with the inclusion of cycle lanes and if a docking station was to be provided, I believe we could start to see more and more people using bicycles to travel to and from the city,” he said.
However, an obstacle to this could be the criteria used by the NTA for rolling out the scheme in new locations.
The maximum distance between stations is set at about 300m and Ballincollig-Carrigaline Municipal District officer Kevin O'Regan said this would likely mean Douglas would be ruled out as a location for a docking station.
“Sites remote from the current scheme extent in Cork are unlikely to be included under the provisions of the current operations contract. Bike share schemes work best when the stations form a network, providing users with options in the event that a station is full or empty, so stations at a distance from the main scheme extent can be problematic,” he said.
Councillor Jeffers said this criteria is holding back the full potential of the scheme.
“The Public Bike Scheme is a fantastic initiative but it needs to be expanded,” he said.
“If we are serious about people using cleaner alternative modes of transport, then we have to further develop schemes such as this. One of the problems is the maximum distance between docking stations of 300m.
“Restrictions such as this are hampering its potential. It’s not feasible long term to have such short distances between stations, especially given the nature of Cork's suburban growth. We must also take into consideration that people’s travel distances are far greater,” he added.