— 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 bikefast.org 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.”