Dublin City gives bicycle share firm end-of-month deadline to launch

— City council has added 1,900 bicycle spaces.

Stationless bicycle share company Urbo has been given a deadline of the end of September to launch in Dublin.

Dublin City Council officials said that the company has until the end of the month — 11 days from now — to start a semi-stationless bicycle rental service on the streets of Dublin.

The licences require that the bicycles be locked to official bicycle parking stands and the companies pay fees which go towards funding new bicycle stands. The council said that it has provided 1,900 spaces, with two spaces per bicycle stand.

At the start of August, a council spokeswoman said: “Urbo’s launch has been delayed as they have certain technical difficulties yet to overcome. The Council met with Urbo last Friday to discuss these issues and have allowedUrbo further time to overcome these issues.”

This week, a city council spokeswoman added: “Urbo have not, as yet, commenced operations in Dublin. The Council has given Urbo a deadline of up to the end of September to commence operations.”

In August, spokesman for Urbo, Kealan Morrissey, said: “As you can probably see from our social media we have pulled the fleet in Ipswich to upgrade the software and hardware, few lessons hard learned that we want to address before progressing with this project.”

The company did not reply to a request for comment this week.

Previously Urbo pulled out of other London boroughs after they said the areas were “no longer suitable” for the company’s business and that the challenges “scaling up were greater than anticipated.”

Urbo was licensed to launch in May in Dublin and then the company then said it would launch in July, but it failed to launch on both occasions.

UK reports said that Urbo was bought by An Rothar Nuathe, the company which runs the Cork, Galway and Limrick bicycle share schemes,  but IrishCycle.com was told by a Urbo spokesman for the company that the two companies only have common directorships between them.

Bleeperbikes up to 450 bicycles

The council also confirmed that Bleeperbikes currently have 450 permits for bikes — that’s an increase from the 300 at the start of August, but still noticeably less than a third of the 1,580 number of DublinBikes and stationless bicycles are spread far thinner across a much large area of the city.

At the recent Dublin City transport committee meeting, city official, Kevin Meade called Bleeperbikes “a huge success” and that they have no problem increasing the number of bicycles licences the company has.

Cllr Kieran Binchy (FG) said that “unlike DublinBikes a few of the Bleeperbikes have been thrown off bridges” because the bicycles often aren’t locked to anything, but he said that company was very responsive and good at communication on Twitter.

Cllr Patrick Costello (Greens) said that the city needs much more new bicycle parking. Meade said that the council did not want to take away from public bicycle parking and so have rolled out in excess of four times of new bicycle parking

Parking on footpath or on the road

Cllr Mannix Flynn (independent) complained that the new bicycle stands relating to bicycle share was taking up limited footpath space, but council officials said that all of the bicycle parking spaces provided as part of the stationless bicycle share project are on the roadway.

Cllr Paddy McCartan (FG) said it was also said that the record “should be set straight” that the new bicycle stands were mostly being provided on the road, but Cllr Flynn said “go down the street and open your eyes to see the new bicycle stands.” He referred to new stands on Georges Street.

IMAGE: Urbo

I am editor of IrishCycle.com and have reported on and commented on cycling in Ireland for over a decade. My background is in journalism -- I have a BA in Journalism from DCU and HDip in Print Journalism from BCFE. I wrote about cycling for national newspapers, and then started CyclingInDublin.com for overflow stories. Later the website was re-branded to reflect a more national focus.

4 Comments

  1. Great of course that more people are cycling. I noticed Dublin City Councils summer tweet that they provided a substantial number of new bike stands. However if these are to be sequestered and taken up by an increasing number of ‘stationless’ bikes.. What for the rest of us!? … Net increase .. Not much!

  2. I’m shocked to see that staunch supporter of cycling Mannix Flynn making apparently baseless criticism of this. I’m sure there must be tons of examples of him complaining about lack of enforcement regarding cars parked up on the footpath right? I mean, otherwise, you’d think he was just against everything to do with cycling…

    I have noted a couple of occassions when there was no space at bike racks and a space was taken up by a bleeper bike but in fact those things are a pretty rare sight in my experience. I doubt the idea that you can walk out of your house or work, find a bike nearby and just cycle is real. Not with the numbers there are at the moment.

    I was cycling behind one the other day and it was rattling and creaking like a 20 year old rust bucket. I’ll be interested to see a review after they’ve been on the streets for a year to see how the “no maintenance required” part of the plan is working out.

    I assume that if Urbo can’t launch the council is going to aware the licence to another provider.

  3. Sad to hear Urbo might not be launching. Really like the Bleeperbike service, but the bikes are far too heavy and slow — you’d nearly be quicker walking sometimes, even on a flat surface. Had high hopes that Urbo might have a lighter fleet.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: