Intending users will have 10 locations from which to avail of a bicycle for hire within Athlone town centre as Westmeath County Council formally launched the pilot scheme on Monday of this week.
Members of the local public are now able to avail of a bicycle for hire from the following locations - Athlone Castle (opposite Sean’s Bar ), Athlone Castle (beside tunnel ), Church Street, Marina entrance, Athlone Civic Buildings, Golden Island Shopping Centre, Dublin Gate Street, St Mary’s Church, Garrycastle Greenway entrance and Athlone Regional Sports Centre.
The scheme, managed by Moby Bikes, is expected to expand as the summer season fast approaches, as a new mode of rental transport ensures short distances via bicycle become a regular occurrence in Athlone.
Speaking this week, Cathaoirleach of Westmeath County Council, Cllr Frankie Keena, noted that the introduction of the bicycle for hire pilot scheme, which will see 30 bicycles grace the streetscape of Athlone, will add to ambiance of the town as a tourist destination.
“I warmly welcome the launch, on Monday of this week, of a bicycle for hire pilot scheme in Athlone. This is a good news story and it will definitely add to the ambiance of the town as a tourist destination. Athlone is ideally placed to embrace this new initiative with huge interest from local residents and indeed the large numbers of students attending TUS and our secondary schools sectors.
“I do recall questioning the Council last year when they announced that a bicycle for hire scheme would be piloted in Mullingar in 2022 to coincide with the hosting of the All Ireland Fleadh Ceoil. I was surprised and annoyed with the fact that Athlone was being omitted from such an initiative and after much discussion I convinced the Council that our town must also to be included in this pilot scheme.
“I do feel that Athlone is the best location for such a pilot scheme due to its large student population base and geographical spread between tourism hot spots and the town’s excellent retail offering,” Cllr Keena asserted.
“The Cathaoirleach is hopeful that demand is such for the pilot scheme that the Council decides to increase the number of bicycles for hire in the heart of Athlone.
“Initially, 30 bicycles will be placed at various town centre locations in Athlone and it is now up to the public to make use of this transport mode on a regular basis. Obviously, if the demand increases then we will be in a position to avail of more bicycles for use within our town.
“The rental cost is just €1 per hour so I would wholeheartedly encourage intending users to download the MOBY MOVE app on to their smart phones and start cycling!,” Cllr Keena commented.
Cllr Keena stated that discussions were ongoing to ensure bicycle for hire docking stations are placed at TUS and the Athlone rail/bus stations.
“I am also engaging with TUS and Iarnrod Eireann to secure a docking station at both locations in the near future. Hopefully, agreements will be reached soon with the respective bodies to allow the placement of bicycles at these locations as they are prime spots for regular usage.
“Finally, I wish to thank the Council executive for all the preparatory work they conducted from an engineering, administrative and environmental perspective prior to the launch on Monday,” Cllr Keena concluded.