There have been calls for Dublin City Council to renegotiate its contract with JC Decaux for the running of Dublinbikes following an announcement of a 40% subscription increase to meet operation costs.

The French company secured an 18-year contract to operate the bike sharing scheme for the local authority and this is due to run until 2027.

Dublin City Council pays €2.4 million for the operation of the scheme and recoups money through membership and rental charges, along with sponsorship from JustEat. However the council still loses an estimated €200,000 a year.

Last week the council announced it was increasing the annual subscription cost from €25 to €35 a year from next month. 

Hugh Cooney, who has set up the stationless bike sharing scheme Bleeperbike, says if the contract was re-tendered, as it was in Paris, after a ten-year operation period it would mean a better service for the city and for the council.

Mr Cooney says Bleeperbike, which is backed by the investment compnay BVP, has itself began turning a profit six months ago after starting in 2016.

He says his on street fleet has increased from 500 to 700 with increased bicycle use during the Covid-19 restrictions.

Meanwhile the company Moby, which is currently running a pilot scheme for electric bikes, is planning to officially begin operations next month with plans for 1,000 ebikes on the streets of Dublin within three years.

CEO and founder Thomas O'Connell says the stationless electric bike scheme allow users to travel longer distances and in other cities they have proven more popular than pedal bikes.

He also says he has been "inundated" with requests from private companies who want to provide their own scheme to allow safe travel for employees during continuing Covid-19 restrictions.

Meanwhile Dublin City Council said it will be evaluating the success of both these schemes in determining its own expansion plans.

These include the options of a expanded, modernised fleet; a hybrid system with a fixed network in the city centre and a stationless option for the suburbs to allow longer commuting; and the electrification of the fleet.

In a statement a council spokesperson said that demand for the expansion of Dublinbikes to more areas has continued "unabated".

They added that with 30 million journeys to date the cost of the scheme per journey is very low financially for the council even without considering the improvements for public health, the environment and road congestion.