Boost for Belfast bike scheme as contractors appointed
Back in December Northern Ireland Business Now highlighted the poor record we have for cycling to work with only 0.8% of adults on their bikes in the morning, compared to a UK average of 3.3%. Now Northern Ireland’s public bike share scheme have been announced and is due to be in place next Spring.
Belfast City Council have appointed NSL, whose consultancy arm, Project Centre, worked on the London Bike Hire scheme to operate the scheme. NSL is set to deliver to deliver and maintain the scheme with Nextbike providing the bicycle infrastructure and management system. The contract between NSL and the Council is for 6 years with an option to renew for a further 3 years to operate and maintain the scheme.
Up to 30 docking stations will be provided as part of the first phase of the scheme. Detailed design will happen over the next three months and construction of the docking stations is due to take place from November 2014 to February 2015.
Transport Minister, Danny Kennedy, welcomed the announcement and said:“Similar schemes in London and Dublin have already proved very successful, giving people the option of jumping on a bike for short journeys across the cities at very little cost whether for business or leisure.The Belfast bike scheme will put cycling in the heart of city and will provide a sustainable and inexpensive transport system for local people and visitors. It will be a much healthier way to travel for both the public and the environment and will help reduce traffic congestion in the city.”
John McGrillen, Belfast City Council’s Director of Development said: “As part of our £150million Investment Programme, we have pledged to explore and invest in projects which develop our infrastructure, but also deliver benefits for neighbourhoods across the city.”
“The public bike hire scheme is a perfect example of this – not only will the scheme enhance connectivity across the city and encourage people to use and enjoy more of our assets, such as the Lagan Towpath and the National Cycle Network, but it also supports tourism and our wider economy, by providing visitors with new ways to explore what Belfast has to offer.Cities across the world are already using public bike schemes to enhance their public transport network and we hope to have our own version up and running by Spring 2015.”
During the Giro D’Italia, anyone interested in previewing the bikes and docking stations can come along to the grounds of City Hall from 8 to 10 May from 10am to 5pm.