Plans for different bicycle schemes have been announced for UCD. They are set to be introduced over the coming months and, in the case of the Dublin Bike Scheme (DBS), within two years.
According to Dublin City Council member, Paul Heffernan, there are immediate plans for the DBS to be expanded into surrounding areas of South Dublin, most notably the Docklands region as well as Heuston Station. “Docklands and Heuston Station are what is on the table at the moment, we are planning on a wider scheme in the future, but I would not have any exact dates for it at the moment.”
This further expansion includes both UCD and DCU, and is part of plans to introduce 56 new bike stations and 1,000 new bikes, to bring the totals to 300 and 5,000 respectively.
DBS users will see the first thirty minutes of their journey totally free. Paul Heffernan says, “One of the key things to it is that the first half hour of every journey is free which effectively means you are using a public transport system for free.”
Previous Campaigns and Communications Officer, Brendan Lacey, originally put forward that the Bike Scheme be extended to UCD. This is now being looked after by current C&C officer Paddy Guiney, who is eager to push the scheme through. “It is an interesting idea, it is something that I would like to move forward with.”
The DBS was originally going to be funded by a private advertising company through billboards placed around the city centre, however this was abandoned as it represented “very poor value for the city” as well as potentially jeopardizing road safety. The scheme is now funded by a grant from the National Transport Authority of €500,000.
In the mean time, Guiney is looking at several other options for transport for UCD students. “It is not happening for two years and I would rather look for alternatives,” he explained. There are initiatives being taken to launch a second-hand bike scheme through the Belfield Bike shop by the end of semester one.
UCD authorities have the right to take and store any bikes left on campus for longer than three months. Under this new system, the bikes would be refurbished and sold to students for a low price. In addition, there is also a demand for new bike prices to be lowered: “One of the deals that we are looking to push through with them is a first-hand bike for €175. Shop value for a bike is usually about €300-400,” said Guiney.
Setting up such a scheme is expected to be of minimal cost to the Students’ Union and is mainly covered by the people who will refurbish the bikes: “There is very little cost to go into the project. The only thing we have to pay for is selling them.”