Media release: Cyclists blast Council Opposition for politicising bike hire scheme

Brisbane’s CityCycle bike hire scheme has come under some recent attacks by politicians trying to get some attention. Our response (sent out to the media today) is below.

If you’re interested in a much more constructive and very thorough examination of CityCycle, both merits and shortcomings, check out these excellent articles on the HowManyPandas.com blog. Let’s hope some Brisbane City Council and JC Decaux staff are reading it and take some notice!

Cyclists blast Council Opposition for politicising bike hire scheme

City cyclists have rejected a suggestion the Brisbane City Council (BCC) budget for the recently commenced CityCycle public bike hire scheme should be redirected to flood repairs.

The reaction comes following the BCC Opposition’s latest attack on the scheme, despite it only being progressively rolled out from 1 October 2010. With 700 bikes on the street the scheme is barely more than one-third implemented and its supporters say that to pull back its funding before it has been fully installed will guarantee its failure.

Brisbane Central Business District Bicycle User Group (CBD BUG) spokesman Paul French said “with CityCycle’s membership approaching 4,000 the scheme is already getting many more people on bikes and making cycling safer because having more cyclists on the road makes it safer for all cyclists. CityCycle’s four-year $8.2 million budget is a pittance compared to the $1.3 billion Brisbane ratepayers are going to sink into the Legacy Way (Northern Link) tunnel over the next four years. If Council needs to make savings the obvious places to look first are the big-ticket, uneconomical projects”.

A Queensland Treasury Corporation (QTC) review in August 2009 predicted Legacy Way would operate at an average annual deficit of $48 million per year for the first four years i.e. from 2014- 15 to 2018-19. This study predicted it would take until the 2026 financial year before the Legacy Way tunnel “generates sufficient surplus operating cash flow to fully meet principal and interest repayments”.

In contrast, the CBD BUG already knows of many people directly benefiting from the scheme – including users who were not previously cyclists whose behaviour change has reduced congestion on Brisbane’s roads and public transport.

“Council Opposition would contribute more value by advocating for the riverside path along the Eagle Street Pier to be re-opened, or for greater use of the CityCycle scheme. With ferry services out of action due to the flood it is a great alternative way for people to get around” Mr French stated.

He added “that the only way to interpret the sniping at a program providing so many benefits to the community for so little funding is that it is short-sighted political opportunism. Whether it’s delaying ferry terminal upgrades or attacking public bike hire schemes, Council Opposition continues to demonstrate they are more interested in playing political games instead of getting on with the serious business of freeing Brisbane residents from the tyranny of traffic gridlock”.

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2 Responses to Media release: Cyclists blast Council Opposition for politicising bike hire scheme

  1. bike hire says:

    the government scheme is a great initiative however there are a little to many flaws. i totally agree however that we do need to focus more on making the city of brisbane more bicycle friendly and promote it as a excellent way to travel. especially for those shorter distances or just going to the shops. there needs to be incentives for people to ride, there is a new bike hire shop in brisbane which offers discounts when you hire a bike, it think that is a great idea and one that should be commended. i cant wait until the city of brisbane embraces bike riding. congrats on the blog as well.

  2. Pingback: “Boris Bikes” for Aberdeen? | Moved to comment

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