The public bicycle sharing schemes may be extended to Galway, Cork and Limerick.

The move comes after the National Transport Authority issued an invitation to interested companies for tenders to build and operate the schemes.

Whoever wins the tender, will have to supply 300 bikes for Cork, 150 for Limerick and 200-250 for Galway.

They will also have to construct and install 75 docking stations, 75 user terminals and 25 advertising hoardings.

Few Irish companies will be equipped to apply. Interested companies have until the 23 July to submit their tenders.

Conditions for application include having installed and operated such a scheme involving at least 150 bikes in the past three years

The news will come as a disappointment to Waterford City however, as it has not been included for a bike scheme.

This is despite the NTA having included a scheme for Waterford last November when seeking expressions of interests from potential sponsors of the bike schemes.

At the time a mooted scheme for the city included 10 docking stations and the 80 to 100 bikes.

A spokesperson for the NTA said that following analysis of the potential for a bicycle scheme in Waterford it was concluded that the cost per bike based on the scheme size would be too high.

She said that the tender documents do include the stipulation that other cities and towns may be added during the tender process.

The spokesperson also confirmed the NTA is talking to a potential sponsor of the schemes in Galway, Cork and Limerick.

Last year the authority sought expressions of interest in sponsoring the schemes, which would give a company naming rights and branding rights for bike stations and bicycles.