What looks to be Dublin’s first stationless bicycle share has now gone public with a brand, website, app and launch date of July 2017. It is set to cost €1 per rental, without a subscription cost.
While it is known that a number of stationless or dock-less bicycle share offerings are looking to launch in Dublin, Bleeperbike has gone public with bleeperbike.com and on its Twitter account it said it is “Launching July 2017”.
Its website states that a €5 top-up will get users 5 rental, and €25 top-up gets 27 rental. A rental is up to 1 hour. Users of iPhone or Android phones will be able to use their phones to unlock the bicycles, a Windows phone option is not yet ready.
The Bleeperbike seems to be largely based on the same bicycles and systems as yobike.co.uk, which said it has “chosen Bristol as its European launchpad”. YoBike describes itself as “the brainchild of Chinese tech entrepreneur Bin Wang”.
However, so-far Bleeperbike does not have different pricing options available with YoBike, such as a £5 Day Pass for 24 hour access, or a £39 Annual Commuter Pass which includes two one hour trips per day.
It is understood that the Dublin system could include up to 1,000 bicycles and the operation has a depot in Portobello. A reader captured the above image of four of the bikes left on kickstands along the Grand Canal near Portobello, and the system’s app shows most of the bikes in the depot. It is unclear at the time of writing if any of the bikes are available to hire.
Bleeperbike describes itself as “Ireland’s next generation shared cycling initiative. With our GPS tracked bikes you can easily find the nearest bike wherever you are, you are in control of everything through the Bleeperbike app.”
Bleeperbike uses rules and a scoring system to attempt to get around the stationless bicycle share problem encountered in China and elsewhere where bicycle share bikes are abandoned outside train stations and apartment blocks.
Each user starts with 100 points and gains one point for each ride, for reporting a broken bike, reporting a incorrectly parked bicycle, and inviting a friend to use the system. Users with higher points will receive free rides.
On the other hand, users will lose 20 points if the bicycle they rent is found to be parked in a private area and they lose 50 points for “abandoning the bike”, which might included any incorrect parking. Users are reduced to a score of zero if they use a private lock or forgot to lock the bike. Accounts which go under 100 points will be suspended pending review.
The photo guide on bleeperbike.com indicates bicycles should only be locked to official on-street bicycle parking such as bicycle racks and CycleHoops. Railing and polls without CycleHoops attached should not be used. Restricting parking to already over-subscribed official parking may cause its own problems.
City council wants to regulate
In a report to the Dublin City Council transport committee in April, Edel Kelly, a senior planner at the environment and transport section of Dublin City Council said: “Stationless bike share schemes are on their way to Dublin. The City Council needs to be proactive in engaging with potential operators in order to ensure that the city can benefit from these schemes and manage the potential impacts.
She added: “The schemes build on the latest technology, require little infrastructure and can be implemented at little or no cost to the City Council. They can expand bike sharing to areas currently not served by Dublinbikes. This type of scheme should be considered as an alternative to the expansion of the Dublinbikes scheme which would require considerable public capital expenditure.”
“While the potential benefits of stationless bike schemes are acknowledged, it is considered that some regulation of these schemes is warranted as they are essentially a public service operating in the public domain. Bye-Laws are considered the appropriate legal mechanism to regulate the schemes and as such it is recommended that the process to prepare byelaws be initiated. It is also recommended that a parallel pilot scheme be run with potential operators to gain a deeper understanding of the operational requirements and impacts of the schemes.”
“The pilot should also explore the potential for these schemes to complement the DublinBikes scheme and to serve areas outside of the city centre. It is recommended that a competitive technical dialogue be initiated to procure a pilot for the city,” said Kelly.
We’ll report more on bicycle share as we get it.
MORE: Transportation-SPC report on stationless bike share
IMAGE: Thanks to Shane Hogan.
NOTE: Extra information was added to this article, mainly covering the link with YoBike.