Councillors may cut Belfast Bikes’s 30 minutes free time


— Move by councillors follows newspaper report that the standard free use time is a “loophole”.

A committee of Belfast City Council are today to decide if they will recommend reducing the free first 30 minutes of Belfast Bikes use down to just 15 minutes.

Belfast’s system has a free first 30 minutes of use for subscribers, as is standard in most modern on-street bicycle share schemes around the world, including London, Paris, Dublin, Cork, Limerick, and Galway.

The move by councillors follows the Belfast Telegraph newspaper reporting on the free time as a “loophole” rather than standard element of bicycle share.

Local cycling campaigners have asked if Belfast councillors are attempting a “world-first in reduced service”.

“I’ve tried to find a scheme which works on a 15 minute basis, but haven’t managed it so far – is Belfast about to try a world-first in reduced service?,” said a post on last night.

It added: “Will this move to squeeze more revenue from users, and make the scheme less attractive, depress membership levels and push the scheme into a death spiral?”

UPDATE: On Facebook today, BelfastBikefast states: “Under public pressure, councillors have decided *not* to attempt this £15k cut to Belfast Bikes and the free 30 minute period will be retained – well done to everyone who expressed their disbelief and contacted their councillors.”




  1. People need to stop taking the media seriously. Any idiot should be able to determine that the 30 minute window is not a loophole and even if they couldn’t be bothered I’m sure if they had asked someone responsible for the scheme they would have been told so.

    I believe the stats show that the majority of trips in Dublin are less than 30 minutes. I wonder how many are less than 15 minutes. Certainly when I was using the scheme this would have been virtually none.

    It is depressing to think that Dublin City Council, desperate to ensure the scheme pays for itself, could follow suit. After all once one idiot has done something then the remaining idiots are just following a precedent. 15 minutes could become ‘best practice’ before we know it.

    Usage drops and the scheme will be considered a failure. There’s just not enough demand for cycling they will say. The scheme may have seemed like it was a huge success but after we messed with it enough nobody was using it.


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