Irish Rail adds pay-per-use bicycle lockers and hopes to expand free parking at Pearse

— Lockers also to be added in Heuston and other stations
— Locker company considering commuter discount

As well as adding paid-as-you-use bicycle lockers, Irish Rail said it is also to at least maintain and possibly expand the amount of free bicycle parking at Pearse train station in Dublin, the second busiest station in the country.

Commuters had complained that temporary signs indicated that the free parking would be removed but this, the company said yesterday evening, was an error.

Barry Kenny, a spokesman for Irish Rail, said: “I understand there was some signage temporarily in place which would have caused concern to existing users – this was put up in error, and is now removed. We will be maintaining free bike parking at Pearse, at least to the current level and hopefully with some scope to expand.”

“We will not be removing free bike parking at Pearse. We are – as we have in many other stations – adding the option of secure paid bike lockers for customers,” Kenny said.

The large staff/access parking area. Image thanks to Patrick Fitzpatrick.

“However, we do need to put new free bike parking racks within Pearse to replace the current facility, as it is not in good condition and we have a problem with abandoned bikes there and bikes locked outside this area too, but it will not be replaced until an alternative free facility is put in place and ready for use,” Kenny added.

He said that a large area near platform level and inside the station, which has staff parking, would be one of the areas which the railway company are considering for bicycle parking.

New secure pay-as-you-use parking lockers

A Carlow-based company, Cyc-Lok, have installed their pay-for-use lockers on the southbound platform at the station.

The lockers include a small shelf for personal items and three hooks for things such as a jacket and bag.

Paraic Cullen, the digital marketing and sales executive at Cyc-Lok, said: “It’s been live now for a few weeks on the southbound platform so feel free to drop over at any point and take a look. Its pay as you go bike parking with security at the forefront.”

To use the lockers train users can download the Cyc-Lok app for Android or iPhone (see details below on how the app works with the lockers). At the moment the company are giving the service away for free using promo code START2015.

Price concerns

Pat Fitzpatrick, a commuter who parks his bike at the station, said there was high demand at Pearse but questioned if the lockers were the right solution for commuters.

Fitzpatrick said: “Recently I got a notice on my bike to inform me that there are new ‘pay for parking boxes’ on the platform which would cost me €5 euro a day. This would be €25 a week for some people and I suspect that a lot of the bikes parked here in recent times are by students going to Maynooth university? ”

In this regard, Cullen said Cyc-Lok were looking into a commuter discount.

Cullen said, “A number of commuters have approached us about a special rate for parking their bike at the station long term, (those who leave their bike at the station when they return home from work) so this is something we are looking into as well. We think the units will work not just in commuter stations but any station where there is a volume of bicycle users looking for secure parking, so where there is demand we will seek to roll them out.”

Other stations and larger clusters of lockers

Their units will also be installed at other stations. Cullen said: “The unit in Pearse is the first of an alignment with ourselves and Irish Rail to offer the cyclist safe and secure bicycle parking at their stations. The next unit will be in Heuston early 2016.”

At any station, if there’s demand the lockers can be expanded.

He said: “There is one unit in Pearse, consisting of 12 lockers. This is a typical set up with 6 lockers on either side and a tower on one end. The unit can be expanded to accommodate 24, 36, 48 (etc. etc.) lockers if required. They can be arranged in the setup like Pearse or in a semi-circle, however our research suggests the semi-circle arrangement would only suit larger scale installations, such as 36 or 72 lockers.”
Open by app

Cullen explains how the lockers work: “When you’re at the unit then, open the app and follow the instructions to get your pin. The pin will be displayed on screen, sent in a text message and sent via email. To park your bike, enter the pin followed by the tick key and a random empty locker will pop open. Put your bike in and close the door. Your bike is now safely parked in a locker and can’t be seen from the outside by anyone. The idea being that the opportunist theft doesn’t know which locker a bike is in – or even if any bikes are in the unit at all.”

He contuines: “To remove your bike, simply re-enter the code and the same locker will pop open. When entering the code a second time, if you press the tick key it will allow you to open the locker to briefly access your bikes, bag, jacket etc. while keeping the locker reserved with your current pin. If you press the X key, the door will pop open for you to remove your bike. This time, when you close the door the system will forget your pin and the locker becomes free for the next person to use. This also ends your billing period.”