Dublin’s automated public bike hire scheme has attracted almost 16,000 subscribers since its launch six weeks ago.
The city council hoped 5,000 people would sign up for the Dublinbikes scheme in the first year, so they were astounded when 11,000 applications were received in the first fortnight.
“More than 11,500 people have registered for annual passes and around 4,000 for day or three-day tickets, so we’re absolutely chuffed with it,” said council communications manager Michael Sands.
Such is the popularity of the scheme in the Irish capital that people are finding some stations empty of bikes and others so full that no bikes can be returned.
If negotiations with JC Decaux, the advertising firm who provide the bike scheme in return for advertising space in the city, are successful, the 450 bikes at 40 stations around the city centre will be joined by extra bikes and a number of new stations.
The unisex bikes with three-speed gears, hub brakes and shopping baskets should become a familiar sight around the city with their distinctive turquoise livery, much as the stylish Velib bikes have become part of the landscape in Paris. Like the high-tech Velib system the bikes are locked automatically to ‘docking stations’ until released by users.
Also launched in September was the first public bike hire scheme in Wales. Cardiff’s Smart Bike scheme, run by OY bike, offers 70 bikes at stations around Cardiff city centre and CardiffBay.
The recently started bike hire scheme in Blackpool sounds to have hit one or two teething problems – the bikes are apparently not new and one or two have not been up to scratch.
Nonetheless, the bikes are being used, mainly by visitors at the moment, but plans are on course to replace the existing bikes and massively extend the scheme, with an extra 500 bikes being available by spring.