No plans to expand Cork bike share scheme despite its popularity

No plans to expand Cork bike share scheme despite its popularity
EE fileshot 25/11/2016.Public bike scheme, green transport, emissions, CO2, Coke-Zero, Coca-Cola Zero, bicycle, roads, tax, environment, infrastructure, rules, cyclists.Bike parking on St Patrick's Street, Cork. Pic; Larry Cummins

THERE are no plans to extend Cork's public bike scheme to the new Páirc Uí Chaoimh stadium or the redeveloped Blackrock village, despite continued strong use in the city.

The Coke Zero public bike scheme, run by the National Transport Authority (NTA), has been a huge hit on Leeside since it started at the end of 2014, racking up almost 720,000 trips in just two and a half years.

In fact, Corkonions have made five times as many trips as the total number seen in Galway and Limerick combined since the start of 2014, with Cork boasting more than 10,000 annual subscribers as of the midway point of 2017.

However, despite the continued strong usage in Cork, a spokesperson for the NTA confirmed that just one new docking station is under construction in the city: at the redeveloped Kent station.

That is despite campaigns for new stations in Blackpool, CUH, CIT, Blackrock and Mahon, with people all over the city crying out for additional facilities.

The scheme is Galway has seen a paltry 40,365 trips since the implementation of the scheme, while Limerick has notched up 90,408, as of the end of June.

Membership on the scheme requires an annual subscription of just €10.

Afterwards, usage of the bikes of free for the first 30 minutes and subject to payment thereafter.

However, 98% of all users in Cork return their bicycle before the 30-minute window elapses.

Former Lord Mayor, Cllr Des Cahill, said that the NTA is missing a trick by not extending the scheme in Cork.

"We have been looking for this to be extended for the last 18 months, at least. Blackrock Castle is a prime location for a bike rack," he said.

"The car park has space for it and the walkway is used so frequently.

In addition, the NTA itself has invested heavily in the link between the city and Mahon, which has cycle lanes almost the entire way out."

Mr Cahill said that the abundance of public amenities in the area means that it is ripe for additional facilities.

"We have the Marina Park works, the new Páirc, the entire Monahan road area and the commercial park, as well as the redeveloped Blackrock village and the castle," he said.

"It is very disappointing that there is no intention to roll out the scheme further. The demand is there, Cork has shown that."

It is understood that the NTA is focusing on developing the scheme further in Galway and Limerick before expanding it in Cork.

A spokesperson for the authority confirmed that 'there are no other plans for additional docking stations at the current time' aside from proposals at Kent station.

Mr Cahill said, "We have been linked with Galway and Limerick on this and it makes no sense. We should be treated as a standalone scheme and, to that end, our facilities should be developed."

Campaigns have previously run to get additional docking stations in Bishopstown and Wilton, with huge demand at CIT and CUH.

Similarly, hopes were high that Blackpool shopping centre and retail park would see docking stations added, though these proved to be false.

"I will continue to lobby to get this policy changed and the docking stations added throughout the city," Mr Cahill said.

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