The hugely popular Coca-Cola Zero Sugar Belfast Bikes public hire scheme has extended its reach – to the city’s newest landmark.
The latest docking station to come into operation is at the new C.S. Lewis Square in east Belfast. This brings the number of docking stations in the city to 40 – an expansion of a third in its size since the scheme launched in April 2015.
Situated three kilometres from the city centre, the new station is the furthermost to have been installed, and marks the first phase of the bike scheme’s expansion into the east of the city, with three more stations planned for 2017. New stations are also planned for the Falls Road and Grosvenor Road in west Belfast and Carlisle Circus in the north.
Welcoming the latest expansion of the scheme, the Lord Mayor, Alderman Brian Kingston, said: “We’re delighted how popular the Belfast Bikes scheme has become in its first 19 months of operation.
“Seeing the diverse range of people using the bikes throughout the city, from business people to students and tourists, tells us that people are embracing the scheme – something that is backed up by our membership figures, with more than 4,500 annual subscribers and over 4,600 casual subscriptions to date. With an average of over 580 bicycle rentals each day, the number of people using Belfast Bikes as a healthy, convenient and enjoyable way to travel within the city continues to grow – and we are fast approaching 350,000 journeys completed on Belfast Bikes.
“As the scheme expands, so does the popularity of the scheme, with September 2016 being its busiest month to date. The availability of the Belfast Bikes scheme, together with the new bicycle infrastructure in the city centre, will help more people to have the freedom and confidence to travel by bicycle for everyday journeys.
“The success of the scheme reinforces the Council’s decision, along with the Department for Infrastructure, to back this initiative in 2015 and contribute to making Belfast a healthier and more cycling friendly city. Its reputation as such can only be enhanced by the ongoing and planned future investments in the city’s cycling infrastructure, helping us to reduce vehicular traffic, boost the health of our people and add to the friendly, relaxed European atmosphere in the city.”
Wendy Langham, Connswater Community Greenway Programme Manager said: ”The Belfast Bikes docking station at the C.S. Lewis Square is a great addition and is already extremely popular. Local people are able to commute to the city centre and visitors are able to explore the east of the city, including the C.S. Lewis Square and EastSide Visitor Centre.
“The C.S. Lewis Square docking station is at the intersection of the Comber and Connswater Greenways, a key hub for cyclists. Once the Holywood Arches to Victoria Park section of the Connswater Community Greenway is open next year this docking station will connect to the existing stations in Titanic Quarter, providing a cycle friendly route from east Belfast to Titanic Quarter.”
Veronica Noble, NSL’s Client Account Manager for Belfast Bikes said, “The bike share scheme has proved hugely popular and we are proud to manage and support the installation and management of even more docking stations and bikes. We are delighted to be opening this station in the fabulous CS Lewis Square and to be integrated into this £40 million Connswater greenway regeneration project, and to be a partner in such a successful scheme that has far reaching benefits for the local transport routes, the environment and people’s health.”
Gillian Shields, Community Affairs Manager with Coca-Cola HBC Northern Ireland, who sponsor the scheme, concluded: “Our investment in Belfast Bikes is part of our wider commitment to help encourage active healthy lifestyles, and the introduction of the Coca-Cola Zero Sugar Belfast Bikes docking station at C.S. Lewis Square will continue to enable more people to integrate cycling into their everyday lives, with the option of a healthier and happier commute.”
The docking station as C.S. Lewis Square was jointly funded by Belfast City Council and the NI Executive’s Urban Villages Initiative.