- Symposium to look at feasibility of having bike-rental scheme for Cork
The prospect of bringing a city-bike scheme to Cork city was the subject of a major symposium organised today.
Members of the public, business interests, civic and community groups today joined Minister for Public and Commuter Transport Alan Kelly and CEO of the National Transport Authority (NTA) Gerry Murphy at Cork’s first ever public Bike Symposium.
The Symposium today is the first of four which will take place in the coming week following the announcement on 3 November by An Taoiseach and Minister Kelly that the Government is committed to exploring the rollout of a public bike rental scheme to regional cities.
It follows the publication of a report that states that a bike scheme in Cork is feasible with over 235 bikes and 25 docking stations but will require both public and private funding for it to be delivered.
The Symposium was exploring the possibility of such funding schemes emerging for Cork.
Speaking today, Minister Kelly said: “We must gauge local appetite in Cork for a bike scheme. The Government has given a clear signal that we are fulfilling our commitment in the Programme for Government that public bike schemes in our regional cities are explored. We have to also bring people together to establish the views of everyone but also to articulate the issues involved, so that we can have an informed discussion around funding. In the current economic climate, Exchequer support to assist in funding a scheme for Cork is necessarily constrained, so we are seeking private sector partnership to make this a reality.”
Two reports on the feasibility of rolling public bikes schemes to our regional cities were commissioned by the National Transport Authority. One, a technical report considering the potential scope and on-the-ground logistics of schemes in each city and the other, a commercial report considering funding, cost and revenue analysis and options. Reports are available at http://www.nationaltransport.ie/citybikes.html
Gerry Murphy CEO of the NTA gave a presentation at the Symposium, outlining the potential for a public bike scheme in Cork. Mr. Murphy said: “Cork has a population of around 150,000 with a cycle-friendly topography (away from the northern side) and the compactness of the city will support demand for a public bike scheme. A fleet of approximately 300 bikes is recommended and the proposed deployment area would stretch from Kent Station in the East to UCC in the West. The proposed area is linear due to steep hills to the north, the distribution of the main trip attractors close to the river and the location of the railway station and university. A public bike scheme is feasible for Cork; and already operate in other similar-sized European cities. “
Minister Kelly continued: “Cycle parking in Cork city is already well used and the level of footway cycling indicates a suppressed demand, but at present, cycling accounts for just 1% of the transport share in the city. We have to change this. Under the Jobs Initiative, this Government has allocated €400,000 to Phase 1 of the Cork City Cycle Network, which will be implemented this year. This will introduce 12.3km of cycleway connecting Douglas to the City Centre and the overall objective of the cycle network is to provide an integrated, safe and functional network for the Cork Metropolitan Area. “
Minister Kelly concluded: “Cycling just makes sense. It’s a fast, cheap, hassle-free way to get around. Nationally, it’s gaining in popularity and this year National Bike Week 2011 was our most successful ever with lots of great events here in Cork and I am anxious to build on this. Public bike schemes can bring a wide-range of visible benefits to cities. Not only are they a quick way to travel short journeys, cheaper on the pocket, a sustainable means of transport, they can reduce traffic and attract tourists. What better way to build on the increasing number of visitors to Cork than adding a new option to see the city – travelling by bike. “
Sheena Horgan, (085) 7721017.
National Transport Authority. Sara Morris (086) 8585831
Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport Press Office. (01) 604 1076 / (01) 604 1090. Caroline Ryan (086) 8915570.
Notes for Editors:
1. Indicative capital costs to set up the schemes in the four proposed cities are challenging at €6.4m with operating costs estimated at €23m over a 15 year period. The €23m would break down at over €7m for Cork and just under €4m for Galway, Waterford and Limerick, with €4.5m control room costs.
2. This year’s National Bike Week 2011 was our most successful ever; with great events in Cork, such as the lunchtime cycle in Cork city centre, the Sunday group cycles, the event between Carriagline and Crosshaven and another from Passage West to Blackrock Castle, charity bike rides and more.
3. The last census showed that over 200,000 of us drive less than 4km to work. To incentivise people to not use their cards, we have to make walkways, cycle paths and the road network more user-friendly. Public bike schemes make cycling more visible and therefore safer, provide more transport choices in city centres and enhance people’s experience of their city, providing a win-win for the public and for business.
4. The National Transport Authority is administrating on behalf of the Department €2.85m in grant funding for sustainable transport projects in Cork City, including bus priority park and ride programmes, bus stop accessibility and other projects under the Jobs Initiative Fund.
Bike Symposiums will also take place in Waterford 9 November, Limerick 14 November and Galway 15 November 2011.