The locations of the 19 docking stations for the Regional Cities Bike Share Scheme have been described as “utter madness”, as they are too close together in the city centre and should be spread out across the city to encourage more cycling.
An update on the €3 million Coke Zero sponsored scheme was presented at the Galway City Council meeting this week, with acting director of services for planning and transportation, Billy Dunne, informing councillors that despite the initial plan for the scheme to be operational by the summer of 2014 the indication now is that it will not be rolled out until the end of September. The consortium An Rothar Nua, which was awarded the contract for the supply, installation, and maintenance of the scheme in May, will supply 205 bikes for Galway city with 19 docking stations and 395 bike stands.
Work to install power points at the 19 locations is currently taking place. The locations of the docking stations in the centre are University Road (UHG end ), Nuns Island (beside the Equality Statue ), Cathedral carpark (southern end ), Woodquay, Dyke Road carpark, Newtownsmith, Eyre Square (north ), Eyre Square (south ), County Hall, City Hall, Ceannt Station (at the taxi rank ), Forster Street, Merchants Road, New Dock Street, St Augustine’s Street, Spanish Parade, Raven Terrace, and Fr Griffin Road (beside GTI ).
Mr Dunne added that Junior Minister with responsibility for Transport, Alan Kelly, would be looking at possible expansion of the scheme and that it was very possible that two docking stations in Salthill, which had been re-assessed on foot of the flooding, could be included along with another docking station at GMIT.
However, the majority of councillors were not pleased with the locations and close proximity of the docking stations, with many stating that popular locations such as Salthill should be included from the start. Cllr Niall McNelis (Lab ) and Cllr Frank Fahy (FG ) both had reservations about a docking station at the north of Eyre Square, with the latter questioning why areas with high numbers of students such as GMIT and Newcastle as well as the highly populated suburbs are not included. Cathal Ó Conchúir (SF ) added that the scheme should be expanded and a docking station in Doughiska would help to encourage people to cycle those distances. On a similar note, Cllr Pearce Flannery (FG ) said that having two docking stations in Knocknacarra, where there are huge numbers of people, would encourage more cycling, while Cllr Mike Cubbard (Ind ) called for locations in Shantalla and Westside. “The whole objective of the scheme is to relieve congestion and change people’s mindset,” said Cllr Peter Keane (FF ), who added that having no docking stations at Salthill, Knocknacarra, and the east side of the city is “utter madness”.
Mr Dunne replied that it was the National Transport Authority which selects the locations, and said the council has had discussions with the authority on locations for Salthill and other areas, and for the scheme’s future expansion. He added that depending on the scheme’s success and a review the maintenance supply company would undertake a change of locations. “I am confident that in the future it will be expanded in other areas,” said Mr Dunne, who added that Galway was ahead compared to the other two cities, having installed power points.
A motion requesting that the NTA would recommend that Gaillimh Na Gaeilge be consulted on the name of the bike scheme and that the name Rothar should be considered was unanimously agreed.