Public bike scheme a ‘complete hames’

A map of the bike stand locations around the city centre.
A map of the bike stand locations around the city centre.

BY ENDA CUNNINGHAM AND DARA BRADLEY

If you’re planning a long trip across the Galway City from docking station to station on the new public bike scheme which launched on Monday, think again.

Because the longest possible journey between docking stations will be just 1.5km – from Fr Griffin Road to the Headford Road.

That compares to 5.8km in Dublin City; 3.1km in Cork and 2.4km in Limerick.

A comparison of the public bike schemes in the four cities by the Galway City Tribune found the shortest ‘long journeys’ were found here.

The scheme – which saw nearly 200 ‘Coca-Cola Zero’ bikes on the streets on Monday – has already come in for criticism, because there are no docking stations in Salthill or in areas close to NUI Galway and GMIT.

There are a total of 17 docking stations across the Galway City – with ‘docks’ for almost 340 bikes – while another station is under review with a further 30 spaces.

A station at the tourist office on the Fairgreen with 20 docks has been postponed until early next year due to roadworks.

The stations are at: Headford Road; Woodquay; County Hall; City Hall;    Cathedral; Gaol Road; Fairgreen; Newtownsmyth; Browne Doorway; Eyre Square south; Mainguard St; City Library; Merchants Road; Spanish Arch; Claddagh Basin; New Dock St and Fr Burke Road.

City councillor Billy Cameron accused the National Transport Authority of making a “complete hames” of the bike scheme, claiming that ‘Dublin 4’ engineers hadn’t a clue about the lay-of-the-land locally when they attempted to roll-out docking stations for the bike scheme.

He slammed the NTA for the manner in which it chose the sites for the bike scheme in the city, and for its lack of real consultation with locals. Cllr Cameron said the NTA, “not for the first time” was found wanting in relation to the delivery of public transport in Galway.

He said last year when the NTA re-drew the city’s bus routes, it ignored local input, which resulted in problems for bus users on the new network.  Cllr Cameron warned the NTA they would “meet their Waterloo” if they continued to ignore local input.

Meanwhile, Cllr Catherine Connolly said she was delighted that issues relating to the location of some docking stations have been resolved and the “wonderful scheme” can be rolled out.

Cllr Connolly said she and members of the Claddagh Residents’ Association had raised serious safety concerns about the proposed site on the island outside the GTI and about Merchants Road.

“Fortunately the Council has now agreed to install the docking station at a site near the GTI which is much more suitable and safer,” she said.

The bikes can be hired once a customer has registered at bikeshare.ie (€5 registration fee for 12 months, although this will increase to €10 in January).

Once registered, the bikes are free for the first half-hour; 50c for up to one hour; €1.50 for up to two hours; €3.50 for up to three hours; €6.50 for up to four hours and then €2 for every extra half-hour.