ESB has announced a 10-month pilot project that will see more than 100 electric bikes available for public use at 14 stations across Dublin’s suburbs.
The ESB e-bikes scheme will have 112 electric bikes available at commuter locations in south county Dublin, Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown, Finglas and Fingal. Among the 14 sites are Swords Main Street, the Crowne Plaza hotels in Santry and Blanchardstown, the Maldron Hotel at Newlands Cross, Park West Business Campus in Cherry Orchard and the Firhouse Road in Tallaght. A second site in Tallaght will be up and running in a couple of weeks after the hub was vandalised during testing earlier in the summer.
The scheme is a collaboration with micro-mobility providers Bleeper and Moby, strategic research partner Trinity College Dublin, innovation partner Dogpatch Labs and co-founding partner Interreg North-West Europe.
Bleeper and Moby will operate and maintain the bicycles, with ESB providing the charging infrastructure and subsidising the cost of hire, which is €5 per day with a €30 monthly subscription, or €10 per day on a pay-as-you-go basis. Customers will book the bike in advance, returning it to the same station where it was rented.
Bleeper’s scheme is available through its app; Moby’s bikes will be hired through the ESB e-bikes app and will be available in the coming weeks.
ESB’s Geraldine Moloney said the company was working with local authorities and gardaí to solve potential issues with vandals. “Our partners Bleeper and Moby are very used to kind of dealing with all of these issues, so they’re providing us with tons of advice as we move along through this,” she said, adding that it was a community service. “If there is a vandalism problem that we can’t deal with, we’re just going to have to figure out what the correct next steps are with the local community.”
Consideration had been given to the location of the various hubs, to ensure they were in locations that were as safe and secure for users as possible, in well lit areas with high pedestrian traffic, for example.
The scheme is the result of ESB’s X-Potential Incubator programme, a staff initiative that was set up to develop innovative, sustainable and commercially viable business ideas. Conceived pre-Covid, the pilot programme was intended to target commuters.
“Investing in low-carbon, sustainable mobility infrastructure for Ireland is a reflection of our commitment to leading the transition to a net-zero energy future,” said Marguerite Sayers, executive director of strategy, innovation and transformation at ESB. “With this project, we are delighted to be part of the broader Interreg North-West Europe eHubs programme and that Dublin will now join other member cities, such as Amsterdam and Manchester.”
The eHubs programme provides funding for on-street e-bikes, e-cargo bikes, e-scooters and e-cars to develop a blueprint for other regions to reduce air pollution and congestion. ESB said it would continue to work with other consortium partners over the next 10 months to help further develop low-emission shared transport solutions throughout Ireland and Europe.
Trinity College Dublin, meanwhile, will use the data collected by the scheme to analyse commuter behaviour as they move from care to e-mobility schemes, identify key mobility patterns, calculate carbon savings and evaluate commercial potential.
There could be further developments in the scheme as the data is analysed and Ms Moloney was hopeful it could be rolled out to more locations in Dublin and across the State if it is proven to be a success.