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Bike hire service starts next week

A total of 450 new bikes will be available on Dublin streets to residents and visitors to the city this Sunday morning as part of a new public bike hire scheme, Dublinbikes. The bicycles can be hired from 40 different locations in the area between the two Dublin canals.

Dublin City Council awarded a 15-year contract to French advertising giant JCDecaux, which also operates the pioneering Vélib' scheme in Paris, to provide the bicycles and maintain them, as well as provide civic information panels to the Council for public information campaigns and “way finding” signposts, in exchange for advertising space in the city.

The bikes themselves are meant for short journeys and tariffs are set accordingly, similar to those in Paris. They will be free to hire for the first 30 minutes of each journey, with a further hour costing 50 cents, but four hours costs €6.50 and it is a hefty €2 for every half an hour after that. The purpose is to deter people from holding them for hours at a time.

It costs €10 for a long-term hire card and €2 for a three-day ticket, each bicycle will come with a lock and there will also be an alert if a bicycle is not put back on its security stand properly.

Each person has to offer a deposit of €150 either through a credit card or a banker’s draft if the bike is not returned within 24 hours. For security, the council has made sure that the stations are overlooking busy areas, not down side lanes and back streets.

John Tierney, Dublin City Manager, said: “We expect the bikes to be very popular and Dubliners and visitors to the city alike will benefit from the new directional signs to city centre amenities .”

The scheme, estimated to be worth €1 million a year in revenue, was not without controversy earlier this year. It was criticised by motorists because 167 parking spaces have been lost during the construction of the bike stations, and construction of some were delayed because the chosen location was above utilities, such as gas pipes, which were not discovered until the ground was broken at the site.

Dublinbikes launches at 11am on Sunday, and the bikes will be available from 5am-12.30am seven days a week.