HUNDREDS OF FOR-HIRE bikes have been added to the Irish capital following the announcement that Dublin council has granted licences to two dockless bike firms to operate in the city centre.
Last year, the local authority passed bylaws to regulated shared-bike schemes in central Dublin after a troubled launch by Irish-firm BleeperBike.
After these laws were finalised, the council put out an open call for operators to apply for licences to operate a dockless bike scheme.
Today, the council has announced that Irish-founded firms BleeperBike and Urbo have been granted licences to operate bike-hire schemes. The services provided by the Irish firms will compete with the existing Dublinbikes service.
As part of the initial roll-out, 200 bikes will be available through the schemes, with the number gradually increased over the coming months. It has been previously reported that up to 1,500 bikes will eventually be on the streets.
In a bid to cater for the new bikes, more than 1,300 extra cycle parking spaces have been installed over the past few months. The council said that it plans to put in place more bike parking facilities for both bike owners and for-hire users.
The local authority added there will be “full interoperability” between the two licence holders.
Users can avail of the service by signing up for the Urbo and BleeperBike apps. For-hire bikes in an area can be found using the apps, which in turn unlocks the bike for the user. The for-hire period only ends when the bike is locked to a Sheffield stand again.
In the announcement, the council added that the stationless bike hire scheme will eventually expand services to outer suburban areas.
BleeperBike has already launched its service in both the Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown and South Dublin County Council areas.
The firm, founded by Hugh Cooney, previously tried to launch in the city centre, but its bikes were removed from the streets by the council when it was ruled that bylaws were required to govern shared-bike operations.
Shared-bikes schemes have caused a lot of problems in China and Australia with the dumping of bikes in places like parks and waterways.
“The council is working in partnership with both operators to ensure that the scheme will be a success and not encounter the problems experienced in other cities with unregulated schemes,” a statement read.
For Urbo, this deal for central Dublin marks its first move in the Irish market. The startup’s main presence is in the UK where it has several agreements to operate its for-hire service.
As reported by Fora, billion-dollar Chinese dockless bike firm Ofo has cooled its plans to launch in Ireland because it found Dublin council’s requirements too restrictive.
Ofo applied for a licence but it didn’t agree with stipulations set by the council that for-hire bikes need to be tethered to specially installed bike stands.