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Extend Bike Scheme To Douglas & Passage West

Call To Extend Bike Scheme To Douglas And Passage West

Writes Leo McMahon

There was full support for a call by Cllr Mary Rose Desmond (FF) at the monthly meeting of Cork County Council’s Carrigaline-Ballincollig Municipal District (MD) to have the popular Coca Cola Zero Bikes Share Scheme extended from the city to the Passage West, Rochestown and Douglas areas.

Pointing out that she first suggested this three years ago, Cllr Desmond it would encourage commuter and tourist cycling along the Rochestown-Passage West Greenway with the new Passage West Maritime Museum, one attraction cyclists could visit. Such a facility was particularly needed in Douglas.

MD officer Kevin O’Regan recalled that back in January, the National Transport Authority (NTA) indicated it was looking at the possibility of additional bike docking stations. It was also the subject of a recent question in the Oireachtas.

He said he e-mailed the NTA again and got a reply during the MD meeting. The issue about extending the scheme had also been discussed at meetings of Cork City Council. The e-mail stated that the city scheme had proved very successful and the NTA was supportive of further expansion within the city but there were significant capital and operational costs associated with this.

Funding, the NTA stated, was available for capital investment but the operational cost, which at present, was just over €1 million per annum (excluding VAT) for schemes in Cork, Limerick and Galway, was more challenging.

Extending the scheme in Cork, which accounted for half of the overall number of stations and bikes, would result in a significant increase in the operational cost of the entire scheme. Exchequer funding for this was not available to the NTA so monetary support from the local authority would be essential. The e-mail however added, said Mr. O’Regan, that the issue of funding the increased operational expenditure for a Cork expansion had not yet been resolved.

Cllr Seamus McGrath (FF) described the response as demoralising at a time when Ireland was failing to meet the target to reduce its carbon footprint by 2020 and faced penalties. The bike scheme was an obvious way of achieving it. He agreed with Cllr Desmond that it should also be pursued at the full council.

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