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.”
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.
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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: