The Cork Business Association has welcomed the new bike-sharing scheme after the city council voted to proceed with the initiative.
Cork was the last of three cities to approve the scheme after Limerick and Galway, and CBA chief executive Donal Healy said it was a positive development.
“We welcome the bike scheme, in general,” he said. “The experience of our colleagues in Dublin is that it is very successful. Quite a lot of students and executives are using the bikes during lunch breaks and as an alternative to public transport, and it is working very efficiently.
“It allows flexibility and it is a useful advantage to allow people negotiate the city quickly without being hindered by traffic. I think it will enhance the city and will encourage tourism.”
The scheme, which is expected to be operational by next summer, will provide 300 bikes for rent at approximately 31 stations and follows the success of the scheme in Dublin, which has seen more than 5m rentals since its launch four years ago, with 35,000 subscribers.
The Cork, Limerick, and Galway schemes are being funded through public/private partnership between the National Transport Authority (NTA), and Coca-Cola, and will be marketed as the Coke Zero bike scheme.
Coca-Cola will spend up to €3m for the installation, maintenance, and operation of the scheme over five years — a sum that will be matched by the NTA.
An annual subscription for the bikes will be applied, but no figure has been set yet. Subscribers will be allowed a free period, covering approximately the first 10-20 minutes.
In Dublin, a “long-term hire” annual subscription is €10, with no charge for the first 30 minutes of usage.
The scheme will cover a route from University College Cork to Kent Railway Station, traversing the city centre, and supports Cork’s initiative as a ‘Healthy City’, a designation it received from the World Health Organisation.
Cllr Des Cahill (FG) said cities such as Dublin, London, and Amsterdam had demonstrated the benefits of bike rental.
“It is plain to see that it is a modern way to deal with transport in cities,” he said.
“These bikes will also prove attractive to the 30,000 students in UCC and, ultimately, will demonstrate that Cork is a progressive city.”
It is envisaged there would be a loss of 45 car parking spaces, from the approximately 1,800 on-street spaces in the city centre but Mr Cahill said that needs to be measured against the provision of 300 bikes.
By Eoin English
Taxi drivers in Cork have reacted angrily to the loss of one of the city’s largest taxi ranks to make way for a cycle lane.
Cllr Pat Gosch said the drivers feel abandoned after the rank outside Rearden’s Bar on Washington St was removed.
She said this was the “last straw” in a series of grievances the drivers have with the City Council, including what they claim is the council’s failure to crack down on unlicensed rickshaws, allowing Daunt Square to be used as an unofficial taxi rank, and failure to provide proper signage and markings for ranks.
Taxi drivers said the loss of the Washington St rank will affect their livelihoods. A spokesman said it will also add to the chaos and “health and safety issues” in the city at weekends when late- night revellers try to hail taxis there.
Cllr Gosch called on City Hall to “engage in a meaningful way” with taxi drivers to find a way to address their concerns.
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