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Dublin: 12°C Thursday 13 May 2021

A row over billboards in south Dublin could mean higher prices for Dublin Bikes users

Councilors are denying the row is about ‘nimbyism’.

Dublin bike rental scheme The Dublin Bikes Scheme has seen over 2.5 million journeys this year alone. Source: PA Archive/Press Association Images

COUNCILLORS IN SOUTH Dublin have voted to block approval for four advertising billboards that are part of the Dublin Bikes deal with an advertising company.

The decision was made despite councillors being told that a failure to meet contractual obligations could mean increased costs for users of the scheme.

Coca-Cola Zero Dublin Bikes is operated by Dublin City Council and JC Decaux.

As part of the original funding deal with the advertiser in 2009, the council provided the company with 72 advertising positions around the city.

When the scheme was expanded in 2010 to increase the number of bikes and bike stations, further commitments were made to allow 10 more advertising ‘Metropoles’.

Four have yet to be delivered in the city.

These Metropoles are double-sided advertising structures that are 5.47m high and 3.48m wide.

metropole Advertising Metropole by the Convention Centre Dublin. Source: JC Decaux

At a meeting of the South East Area Committee of Dublin City Council yesterday, councillors were told that a failure to deliver the Metropoles could mean a scaling back of the scheme by eight stations.

It could also mean that the cost of the service to users could increase from the current level of €20 per year to €35 per year.

Last year, the scheme operated at a loss of €376,211 that was borne by the council.

The proposed four sites for the Metropoles were at Donnybrook Road, Shelbourne Road and Pembroke Road in Dublin 4 and Charlemont Street in Dublin 2.

The motion opposing the plans was submitted by Sinn Féin councillor Chris Andrews before it was passed.

Speaking this morning on Newstalk Breakfast, Labour councillor Dermot Lacey said councillors were opposed to the hoardings because they were “simply poor locations”:

We took the decision yesterday to say that four proposed advertising boards were unsuitable, unsuitable for the area. And we stand over that, and any question of ‘not in my backyard’ isn’t borne out by the facts.

He also said that it was wrong of city officials to say that the price of the scheme could increase if the Metropoles were not given the go-ahead.

“It was wrong of the city officials to include in a planning assessment that if you don’t proceed with this we are going to increase the price to Dublin Bikes users,” he said.

Lacey added that he would be happy to suggest other locations in his constituency.

North-south divide

In the documents provided to councillors, Dublin City Council pointed out that the South East Area had 47% of the bike stations but only 25% of the advertising units.

On the whole, the north side of Dublin City had 59% of the advertising hoardings but only 35% of the bike stations.

Green Party councillors also voted against the proposed ads with party leader Eamon Ryan TD defending their decision this morning.

He said their vote was a “protest vote”.

“As long as all the budgets for cycle modes are being cut, then we think our councillors were absolutely right,” he said.

“So I’m sorry, we need to stop this here and now and put proper funding in place for cycling in our city. It’s not by putting just a couple of big massive adverts around the place.”

Read: Over 2.3m journeys made on public bike schemes so far this year >

Read: Use of helmets on Dublinbikes ‘would not be possible to enforce’ >

About the author:

Rónán Duffy

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