Dublin stationless bicycle share gearing up for June launch

IMAGE: Urbo won the rights to run stationless bicycle share in Dublin City.

Stationless bicycle share in Dublin City is expected to launch in June, Dublin City Council has said.

UPDATE: The council said on Monday morning that it expects to make an announcement on Wednesday morning on the details of the two stationless providers who have won a licence. It is still unclear if the council will let other operators use the city’s streets at a later stage.

Recent headlines that the stationless schemes could be “scuppered by locking requirements” is viewed as highly unlikely as most of the potential operators signed up for a licence with the full knowledge and acceptance of the requirement that the bicycles are to only be locked to official bicycle racks.

The requirement is designed to stop bicycles from being abandoned or where bicycles would be locked where footpaths would be blocked, as has happened in other cities.

The complaint against the rule on locking bicycles was made by Ofo, a Beijing-based bicycle sharing giant. But Dublin-based companies Urbo and Bleeper Bike have both said that they agree with with the council trying to avoid parking issues.

The council is busy installing new bicycle racks around the city to allow for increased demand and the fees charged to operators is expected to fund extra bicycle racks. Although so-far the locations for new bicycles mainly seem to be outside the high-demand area in the core of Dublin city centre.

“Dublin City Council received 5 applications for an Operator’s licence under the Dublin City Council Control of Stationless On-Street Bicycle Hire Bye-Laws 2017,” a spokeswomen for Dublin City Council said last week, on May 16.

She added: “The assessment process was finalised recently and two potential operators have been identified.  However no licences have issued to date. It is anticipated that licences will be issued in approximately 2 weeks.”

“The numbers of bikes permitted per operator will be determined at a later date, but is expected to increase from the initial allocation as further cycle parking facilities are rolled out throughout the City,” the council said.

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.

7 Comments

  1. They should only licence them if they sign up to use the Leap card. having 5 or 6 different companies makes no sense, they should be a common payment method that does involve signing up to each individual company

  2. @brian They are only giving licenses to 2 companies.
    The apps operate using an app, so it doesn’t really make sense to use leap card. Even if they did implement leap card in the way that dublin bikes/gocar have implemented leap card, it would still require signing up with each individual company.

  3. I’m glad this seems to be moving forward with a reasonable restriction. I’m sure we’ll manage without Ofo. Hopefully this spurs the various councils (or the RTA or whoever the hell is responsible out of the selection box of possible authorities) to come up with a map showing where official (whatever that means) bike parking is actually located around the city. This doesn’t have to show availability, which I don’t see how it could anyway, but simple knowing there is a bike rack 50m in that direction is better than having to just wander aimlessly. An app showing this could be a simple as something that just shows a static map of the city (really that could just be an image not an app) but one that uses your location and potentially alows users to flag racks that are full wouldn’t be very complicated. Flagging full racks would help whoever determine where they should consider adding more racks.

    Also hopefully this agreement on behalf of the bike companies isn’t the sort of sham we’re used to dealing with from these ‘disruptive’ companies. There needs to be a meaningful reason why their customers won’t just ignore this rule.

  4. @Eric

    I think the bylaws allow the city council to collect dockless bicycles that have not been properly locked to a bike stand and charge the operator a €50 return fee, so the operators have a financial incentive to enforce this rule.

  5. Has the city council announced which two potential operators they have selected?

  6. @e_slat announcement will be made on Wednesday morning.

  7. Just in time too. Dublin bikes have confirmed to me that they no longer regulate bikes. They claim it is self-regulating. Using a bike to a train/bus station in the evenings has become too unreliable. Look at the app to see no available spaces every evening. Do Dublin bikes have a performance requirement in their licence I wonder?

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