Dublin Bikes fees could be increased amid dispute over advertising signs

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A row over sponsorship signs could lead to a price hike for Dublin Bike users.

Councillors in south Dublin have opposed the installation of four advertising screens to be erected in the southeast of the city.

The so-called Metropoles were to go up at Donnybrook Road, Shelbourne Road, Pembroke Road and Charlemont Street as part of a deal with the firm JC Decaux - who will help pay for the bikes in return.

However, councillors in the north of the city have suggested they should not have to carry advertisements their southside neighbours will not.

The public bikes scheme is currently funded by a mix of subscription fees and sponsorship, with the city council funding the shortfall - estimated to be around €360,000 a year.

Dermot Lacey, Labour Councillor for Pembroke-South Dock, told Newstalk Breakfast: "It's quite outrageous that the planners should seek to insert in a planning argument that there may be an increase in relation to this.

"The city council has taken absolutely no decision on fees for the Dublin Bikes scheme.

"We took the decision yesterday that the proposed advertising signs were unsuitable for the area, and we stand over that. Any suggestion of 'not in by back yard' is simply not borne out by facts," he suggested.

On the subject of the locations they are objecting to, he pointed out: "They were simply poor locations, and I think we need to find new locations for them."

However, Councillor Nial Ring says he believes his north-central area is being unfairly treated.

Speaking on The Pat Kenny Show, Councillor Ring argued: "Well it seems to be that what they want in the south-east, they want all the benefit and none of the pain so to speak.

"The city council has looked at 50 sites throughout the city, and these four [were chosen]... and in fairness terms it is absolutely right they go into the south-east. In fact, overall on the northside, we have 60% of the advertising units and 35% of the bike stations, so we need to redress that balance.

"Putting this whole scheme in jeopardy over four advertising units is absolutely appalling," he added.

Pembroke-South Dock Councillor Paddy McCartan countered that the question of why the successful Dublin Bikes scheme is not 'paying its way' must be looked at.

He suggested: "The problem is if these four go ahead [...] it means we could then be subjected to four more of these Metropole signs.

"Don't forget these signs are three metres wide and up to six metres tall," he observed.

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