Galway has emerged as a frontrunner in terms of its suitability for the introduction of a public bike scheme, similar to that already in action in Dublin, and which could see the setting up of 23 docking stations for 250 public bikes across the city at a estimated cost of €1.55 million.
It is understood that the findings of a feasibility study, due to be launched by An Taoiseach Enda Kenny at Government buildings at around lunchtime today, has found that Galway is most suitable for such a scheme. The study, which was commissioned by the Department of Transport, explored the potential - including funding options, cost, and revenue analysis - of regional cities such as Galway, Cork, Limerick and Waterford, to deliver bike rental schemes similar to the Dublinbike scheme which has been in operation since 2009.
The findings are set to be discussed at a series of public symposiums being held by the Minister for Public and Commuter Transport, Alan Kelly, during November in each of the cities to inform and involve local stakeholders, communicating the issues involved, facilitating debate, and allowing interested parties to make submissions in relation to the scheme.
Speaking ahead of the report publication, Fine Gael TD Brian Walsh described the findings as “hugely encouraging” as Galway was identified as being “an attractive and relatively cycle-friendly city” where a public bike scheme would be “most successful”.
“The cost associated with a public bike scheme in Galway is modest in the context of the benefits that it would bring and the symposium here this month is a major step towards making that long-term goal a reality. The report outlines proposals to establish 23 docking stations for public bicycles across the city and estimates that up to 250 bikes would be required to cater for users. It estimates that there would be 1,500 subscribers to the public bike scheme and each bicycle would be rented an average of twice per day. The initial capital cost in setting up the scheme in Galway would be €1.55m, according to the document.
“The feasibility study assessed the potential for public bike schemes in Cork, Galway, Waterford and Limerick and notes, ‘It is estimated that Galway and Cork are the best-suited as they have more of the characteristics of the cities where bike sharing schemes are successful’. Ironically, traffic problems and the expensive parking transpired to be an asset in the assessment of the city’s suitability as the report states ‘Schemes in Galway and Cork would be the most successful partly due to the background levels of traffic congestion and the high price of car parking in both cities’,” said Deputy Walsh who added he was confident that a bike scheme in Galway could mirror the “resounding success” of Dublinbikes, with users making over two million journeys prior to last summer, and he hoped that the scheme can be put in place before next year’s Volvo Ocean Race stopover.
A public symposium on the proposed bike scheme is due to be held at the Siobhan McKenna Theatre, NUI Galway, between 10.30am and 1.30pm on November 15. Those interested in attending or finding out more information are asked to email [email protected]