Following a hugely successful first six months of operation, in which the project exceeded all expectations, three new docking stations are being added to the Coca-Cola Zero Belfast Bikes public share scheme.
Two of the docking stations are located at Queen’s University, with a third being added in the Titanic Quarter.
Officially declaring the first of the stations – located outside the Students’ Union building on University Road – operational, the Lord Mayor of Belfast, Councillor Arder Carson, said:
“Just a few weeks ago, we revealed that more than 100,000 journeys had been undertaken on the Belfast Bikes. It is exciting and very satisfying to see how popular the scheme has become in such a short time, and it proves that the Council, along with our partners in the Department for Regional Development, was right to back this initiative, which is designed to make Belfast a healthier and more cycling friendly city.
“I would like to congratulate Queen’s University on taking this step to install two new docking stations on its campus. I am sure that they will prove extremely popular, not only with staff and students but also with commuters and tourists visiting nearby attractions such as Botanic Gardens and the Ulster Museum. They also will help us to address the high demand which the scheme has been experiencing in the Botanic and Bradbury Place areas.”
The second station will be located outside the McClay Library, close to the entrance of Botanic Gardens, and is expected to be operational in the next few days. The installation costs for the two docking stations have been met entirely by Queen’s University. Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Planning and Public Engagement at Queen’s, Professor Tony Gallagher, said:
“Queen’s University is committed to making a positive and lasting impact on society and that includes reducing our carbon footprint through the University’s Carbon Management Plan. The arrival of Coca-Cola Zero Belfast Bikes is further evidence of the importance that the University places on promoting all forms of sustainable travel. Cycling, whether for recreation or short distance commuting, is an activity that everyone can enjoy and I would encourage everyone working, studying or living near the University to get involved.”
The Coca-Cola Zero Belfast Bikes scheme has been developed by Belfast City Council in association with the Department for Regional Development.
Transport Minister Michelle McIlveen said: “I congratulate Queen’s University on installing two docking stations on its busy campus.
“Over 19,000 cycling journeys are now being made on average every day in Belfast and the number of people choosing cycling for leisure and commuting is steadily increasing across Northern Ireland.
“The development of Belfast Bikes is great news for those who are already members of the scheme or are considering joining and benefiting from a healthier way to travel.”
Stephen Cassidy, Senior Customer Account Manager, 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 we hope the introduction of these two stations at Queen’s University will continue to enable more people to integrate cycling into their everyday lives, with the option of a healthier and happier commute.”
Veronica Noble, NSL’s Client Account Manager for Belfast Bikes said, ‘NSL is proud to be a partner in such a well received scheme, which raced to its 100,000th rental just last month. And to add further stations for more users is very exciting – the scheme has already out-performed the start of Glasgow’s – and even beat the famous Boris bikes’ in London. We already have more than 4,500 individual users with up to 1,000 users per day. As well as the obvious benefits for the environment and people’s health, these bikes also give people a superb option for any short journey across town – and are now more accessible than ever, with more sites to follow.’