The Dublin Bike Scheme (DBS) is set to expand to UCD within the next five years. Students’ Union Campaigns and Communications Officer Brendan Lacey has been lobbying the National Transport Authority (NTA) since the start of the summer to ensure that service would expand to UCD, “I have a commitment from them now that it will be at the gates of UCD in five years time”.
The scheme will not be able to be implemented any earlier due to the excessive costs that setting up a pop-up system in UCD would incur, “everyone would just leave the bikes here in UCD then you have to ferry them back so that’s why they’re saying [the DBS] has to grow naturally”.
Lacey is also investigating setting up a bike scheme compatible to that of the DBS in the nearer future, which would then be able to merge with the official system once it had expanded sufficiently.
“I’m trying to investigate whether it’s feasible for us in UCD to co-pilot a scheme that would just be a UCD bike scheme where we get our own stations but it would be compatible with the DBS … it would basically be for cycling around campus or just home for lunch or whatever, it could work off the UCard system; it’s something that I don’t yet know [whether] it is feasible or not.”
However, Lacey has encountered problems with the alternative idea, “I’m trying to find out who made the original bikes – for some reason it’s a nightmare to find out. What we’re trying to do is try and get the same bikes and stations that the DBS uses or ones that are compatible so when the bike scheme arrives, they could still use what UCD has, it would be interchangeable”.
If the idea of setting up UCD’s own bike scheme was to come to fruition, the Students’ Union would seek the University’s financial aid as well as external funding, “finances and budgets are tight this year so we can’t afford to build a bike scheme; my idea would be to seek funding from the likes of advertising space, very similar to how the DBS originally worked; also, through the use of the bikes, there would have to be a small charge for the maintenance of them but hopefully over time it would come to cover itself”.
The initiative to push for the implementation of a bike-scheme in UCD was “born out of frustration with the parking problem … we’ve got over 20,000 people to try and fit into 3,000 parking spaces, it doesn’t matter what scheme you come up with … it’s not going to solve the problem … what I want to do is try and encourage people to use alternative methods to get here”.