New bicycle taxi service to start in Dublin City Centre this Thursday

A new electric pedal-assisted bicycle taxi service says it is to start operating in Dublin this Thursday using an articulated cargo bicycle that will carry two passengers.

Kerb, the company which will run the bikes in partnership with taxi and mobility app Freenow, said: “Pricing is tiered based on the time of the day as well as demand/supply. There is no maximum price, although there is a minimum charge of €4. The cost of a 2km trip will range from €6 to €13 with the higher pricing during unsociable hours.”

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Alan Browne, one of Kerbs co-founders, said: Using cycle lane infrastructure we will get people from A to B quicker and cheaper than a traditional taxi… For too long, our focus has been on accommodating cars and heavy vehicles, with little thought spared for people to enjoy the limited spaces available in our cities.”

He added: “We want people to imagine what’s possible when you can replace a two tonne car with a small light carbon neutral vehicle that can operate in cycle lanes and save valuable space for family and friends.”

He said that the company will launch the service this Thursday, November 30, from 4pm on the Freenow app. At that time, they will be based on Suffolk Street off Grafton Street.

The bicycle, an Armadillo, is made by Swedish cargo bike maker Velove with a passenger attachment by another Swedish company, Quicab. Its manufacturer outlines how it’s designed to fit in cycle lanes but it might still struggle in some of Dublin’s narrower lanes.

Kerb this week tweeted a video of its operator training and the company said that its drivers are “employed and vetted” by them, and also have a driving license and cycling experience.

The bicycle is designed with a screen door which is closed when it is in motion and there are seatbelts for the passengers. And according to information which was published on Freenow’s website, “both the driver and the passengers are insured against any accident”.

The driver and passenger cabs are separate but the company said that the passenger cabs are equipped with intercoms to communicate with the driver.

Earlier this month the National Transport Authority, under its taxi regulation function, said that it was in contact with Kerb about “regulatory requirements that must be met” before it launched, but in a second statement on November 17, it gave Kerb the all-clear as far as taxi regulation is concerned.

In the second statement, the NTA said: Following receipt of the pedal cab vehicle specification documentation, NTA this morning determined that the vehicle proposed for use by Kerb does not meet the legislative definition of a mechanically propelled vehicle as set out in the Road Traffic Act 1961, as amended. Therefore, NTA can now confirm that this vehicle does not require licensing within the regulatory remit of NTA as a small public service vehicle.”

A video showing the bicycles being demonstrated by their manufacturer:

10 comments

  1. As someone who lives and socialises in Dublin City Centre, this is such a fantastic idea. Why didn’t I think of it?

    The rickshaws are a bit of a wild west experience and, at my age now, I never see them. I suppose they only hit up the clubs very late at night these days.

    To have the backing of FreeNow is huge. I will definitely see if I can book one this week. I sincerely hope this will be successful! Thanks for highlighting it here.

    Reply
    • I wish I could paste screenshots here as I’ve got a large list of taxi trips in Dublin City Centre of 2km that have been well over €13. The cheapest I’ve had the last few months was one for €16.60.

      Once you add in all the fees, “tech fees”, additional passenger, evening rates and tips FreeNow is very expensive.

      But better than always having to carry cash because a taxi’s card reader is always “out of service” and they never have change for even €20 notes and will take the piss at the route they try to take you and act like they don’t know where you live. Got tired of arguing and just use the app. At least I know who my driver is for safety and it’s tracked, too.

      Beyond that, happy to be at least a little more environmentally friendly with a bicycle, too.

      Reply
      • I don’t get taxis a lot, but I’ve had a good few trips much longer than 2km in Dublin that were less than €13. Guess it depends on the time of day and traffic.

        This scheme reminds me of the single-passenger promotional pedal taxis that roamed the city centre for a short while some 10 or 12 years ago. They were free since the idea was to serve as a literal marketing vehicle… presumably that business model turned out to be less sustainable than expected, which was a shame as I got a few 2km trips out of them.
        For those kind of trips nowadays I use Bleeper bikes these days which is decent and about a tenth of the price, but if I had one of the younger kids along with me, this would make a nice change of pace (assuming they don’t mind you taking a child along).

        It’s nice to see more of this sort of thing, but I’d agree with John that it’s just too expensive when you can probably get a taxi cheaper and quicker.

        Reply
  2. I have been a taxi driver for more than 30 years, honest,hardworking, friendly,cordial, treated people as I would like my mother to be treated each and every time! Never once overcharged and always remind every passenger to take their phone,wallet,keys and everything else with them! I wish them a pleasant day or great night. Now that nobody can call me a moaning auld robbing taxi driver I have only one suggestion to make regarding this mode of moving the public for a price.. that just like me, every transaction must involve an official receipt with the option of card payment and that the exact distance,time,and any other charge incurred by the user be regulated by a meter similar to those in a taxi and verification implemented by a regulatory body..Fair play is good sport! I wish them well!

    Reply
    • Hi Mark, as above in the article: according to information which was published on Freenow’s website, “both the driver and the passengers are insured against any accident”

      Reply

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