Fianna Fáil TD for Dublin South-West John Lahart has today expressed his concerns about the proposals to increase the subscription charges on the Dublin Bikes scheme by 50%, increasing from the current €20 charge to €30.

“This is a hugely popular scheme, growing from strength to strength since its inception in 2009. I welcome the plans to extend the scheme from the core of Dublin into the suburbs, with a planned increase from 1500 to 5000 bikes over a ten year period. The funding model, however, is something which must be closely examined.

“Much of the success of the scheme has been because of its affordability. The subscription charge for the scheme is already double its original €10. By hiking the charge to €30, at the point of entry for users, there is a real risk that there will be a diminishing demand for the scheme. There is currently a mixed model approach to funding the scheme, between user charges, advertising and a council subvention.

“I believe this funding approach should remain and the cyclists should not have to make up the funding shortfall should the council withdraw its subvention. Advertising should be used, but not in inappropriate civic places across the city.

“Cycling is an important part of our transport network. It makes for more efficient use of road space, is environmentally friendly, and encourages a healthy lifestyle. We should be promoting cycling rather than discouraging its use through price hikes.

“The Dublin Bikes scheme is very popular and successful and it will remain in the city regardless of these charges, but the potential for future growth in the scheme is at risk with these regressive price hikes. The eventual aim should be to extend the scheme across the city, and into other local authority areas to truly connect the cities bike network.

“I call on Dublin City Council to maintain its subvention for the scheme and to find a funding model that will allow the scheme to extend to the suburbs, whilst remaining affordable to users,” concluded Deputy Lahart.