The bike rental scheme for Galway cannot be successfully administered locally when it is being run by a national body situated on the other side of the country, in Dublin.
This is the view of Independent Galway City West councillor Catherine Connolly, who said questions remain as to who will be responsible for the ongoing maintenance of the bikes and docking stations and where such maintenance money is to come from.
Work is currently being carried out on constructing the docking stations for the Coke Zero Bike hire scheme, which is due to come into effect in the coming weeks. The Galway City Council is aiming for a completion date of the end of this month.
Docking stations will be located at Nuns Island (beside the Equality Statue ), Cathedral carpark (southern end ), Woodquay, Dyke Road carpark, Newtownsmith, Eyre Square (north and south ), County Hall, City Hall, Ceannt Station, Forster Street, New Dock Street, St Augustine’s Street, Spanish Parade, and Raven Terrace. However plans to locate stations at Merchants Road, University Road, and Fr Griffin Road ran into trouble.
Cllr Connolly alleged that the sites were “picked without local knowledge or expertise”, while city council officials were “left to deal with the mess on the ground after a substantial period of delay and waste of tax payers money”.
However “positive changes” are occurring in regard to the “problematic” Merchants Road, University Road, and Fr Griffin Road docking stations.
Following safety concerns raised by Cllr Connolly and the Claddagh Residents Association, the council has agreed to install the docking station for the GTI area at a “more suitable and safer” location.
The proposed station at University Road is not going ahead but the council will engage with both NUI Galway and the hospital with a view to finding more suitable sites on their institutional land.
The proposed site on Merchants Road has also been moved to facilitate the residents in the area who were adversely affected by the initial location. Moreover the proposed site at Forster Street will not go ahead until 2015 and there will be some changes as well at the site outside City Hall.
Cllr Connolly said she was “delighted the difficulties have been resolved” and that this “wonderful scheme can be rolled out”.