Dublin’s first stationless bike share system launch this weekend is now postponed. Hugh Cooney, CEO of Bleeperbike, told IrishCycle.com in the last half hour that he intends to ask the council to meet with him on Monday.
As we reported yesterday, a threat from Dublin City Council to remove the bicycles from the city’s streets is at the reason for the rethink of the relaunch.
Speaking in the last few minutes on the Bobby Kerr show on Newstalk, Cooney said he fears a larger operator may come into the country and take first mover advantage, which he would have if he launched tomorrow as originally planned.
He used the example of Chinese firm Mobike, which is is due to launch in Manchester later this month to start its planned aggressive Europe-wide expansion. The company has 10 million users in China, and news agency Reuters reported today that its financing rounds since October has topped $900 million.
IrishCycle.com understands that at least one other potential stationless bicycle share operator looking to start in Dublin has mixed views on a proposed trial by the city council , which the council wants to keep away from the city centre, but they would support the city’s suggestion of minimum standards of the quality of the shared bicycles.
Dublin City Council said yesterday evening that the main issues to be addressed with staionless bicycle share include “ensuring the bikes are fit for purpose and properly maintained, insurance, ensuring there is adequate cycle parking capacity in city centre locations and ensuring bikes are not abandoned at unsuitable locations.”
The city council said that the launch was “premature pending the preparation of bye-laws” and that it bypasses “full engagement” with the council and “may secure an unfair advantage over other potential operators who are prepared to work closely with Dublin City Council.” It said that the bye-laws will likely require operators to apply for a licence to operate within the city.
The statement added: “The Bleeperbike bicycles are unlicensed and will advertise the service which they provide. As such Dublin City Council is empowered to remove them from the public domain. It is an offence under Section 71 of the Roads Act 1993 to place unlicensed items in the public footpath/roadway. Dublin City Council is empowered under Section 71 to remove unlicensed items on the footpath/roadway without further notice.”