Dublin City Council takes air out of BleeperBike's summer launch

The Dublin Bikes rival has agreed to leave the capital's streets until bye-laws are introduced...

Dublin City Council has confirmed that it has removed "many" of BleeperBike's two-wheelers from various locations around the capital.

The local authority had warned the short-term bike rental company that it would be forced to take this action if the scheme started to operate without the appropriate authorisation.

Following a meeting with the council on Monday, BleeperBike agreed to pull back on its premature launch and withdraw from having a street presence until the introduction of bye-laws.

A report on said regulation will be put to a DCC committee tomorrow.

In a statement ahead of BleeperBike's planned launch earlier this month, DCC said:

"It was decided at the May meeting of the Transportation SPC that bye-laws should be prepared and engagement with the market should take place with a view to running a pilot scheme in Dublin.

"In this regard, Dublin City Council has committed to preparing bye-laws and to proactively engaging with all potential stationless bike share operators with a view to giving an equal opportunity to each operator to submit a proposal for a pilot in Dublin."

"The BleeperBike bicycles are unlicensed and will advertise the service which they provide. As such Dublin City Council is empowered to remove them from the public domain."

Following the statement, BleeperBike chief executive Hugh Cooney argued on Newstalk's Down to Business:

"If I sacrifice my first-mover advantage, there'll be other companies that would come in with a lot more money than me and no business person would want to give up first-mover advantage."

He also told presenter Bobby Kerr about how the venture will work – if it gets the green light – and, more specifically, how his stationless system differs from the already highly-successful Dublin Bikes. 

"Stationless bikesharing started in China in April 2016," he said. "So the very first stationless bikesharing [service] is now 18 months old.

"The system is based on a smartlock that is fixed onto the bike. So instead of the station-based system where the technology is fixed into the ground, the technology has now moved onto the bike.

"The locks now have a SIM card inside them, so they're online, GPS-connected and it's all based on mobile communications."

That doesn't mean you can abandon said bike just anywhere when you're done...

"We want these bikes to be parked in a way that it doesn't become inconvenience," Cooney said.

"So the bikes have to be parked at a dedicated bike rack. A piece of steel, like we see around the city [where] private bikes are parked, is a designated bike rack. But a tree, someone's front gates, anything like that, is not where our bikes would be allowed."

Cooney stressed that there is a market out there that is not currently being served by Dublin Bikes.

"On one hand you could look at it as a disruptor but the plan for us would be to cover areas that are out of Dublin Bikes' coverage.

"So Portobello is the furthest south of the city of Dublin that Dublin Bikes goes to, and the Mater Hospital is the furthest north Dublin Bikes goes to.

"There's an awful lot of people who live outside of those boundaries.

"Let's say that you wanted to stay in Dún Laoghaire and get the DART home; you can't do that [with Dublin Bikes]."