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Boost for Belfast bike scheme as contractors appointed

1 May 2014

Northern Ireland's first public bike share scheme is due to be in place next Spring following the appointment of NSL as operators.

Belfast City Council appointed NSL, whose consultancy arm, Project Centre, worked on the London Bike Hire scheme. NSL is set to deliver and maintain the scheme with Nextbike providing the bicycle infrastructure and management system.

Up to 30 docking stations will be provided as part of the first phase of the scheme. Detailed design will happen over the next three months and construction of the docking stations is due to take place from November 2014 to February 2015.

Transport Minister, Danny Kennedy, welcomed today's announcement and said: "My department is providing over £1 million capital funding for this scheme which is an important element of my goal in achieving a cycling revolution in Northern Ireland, and delivering a flagship Active Travel Demonstration Project for Belfast.

"Similar schemes in London and Dublin have already proved very successful giving people the option of jumping on a bike for short journeys across the cities at very little cost whether for business or leisure.

"The Belfast bike scheme will put cycling in the heart of city and will provide a sustainable and inexpensive transport system for local people and visitors. It will be a much healthier way to travel for both the public and the environment and will help reduce traffic congestion in the city."

The public bike share scheme is part of the Department’s investment in a series of Active Travel Demonstration Projects and Belfast City Council’s £150 million Investment Programme for the city and is expected to bring health and environmental advantages, as well as provide a boost for tourism.

During the Giro D'Italia, anyone interested in previewing the bikes and docking stations can come along to the grounds of City Hall on 9 and 10 May from 10am to 5pm.

John McGrillen, Belfast City Council’s Director of Development said: “As part of our £150 million Investment Programme, we have pledged to explore and invest in projects which develop our infrastructure, but also deliver benefits for neighbourhoods across the city."

"The public bike share scheme is a perfect example of this – not only will the scheme enhance connectivity across the city and encourage people to use and enjoy more of our assets, such as the Lagan Towpath and the National Cycle Network, but it also supports tourism and our wider economy, by providing visitors with new ways to explore what Belfast has to offer.

"Cities across the world are already using public bike schemes to enhance their public transport network and we hope to have our own version up and running by Spring 2015."

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Director of Development in Belfast City Council John McGrillen is pictured alongside DRD Minister Danny Kennedy and a representative of NSL