Bar­rett’s Bar­tra backs Bleeper­bike as it seeks to in­tro­duce elec­tric cy­cles

Irish Independent - Business Week - - Front Page -

RICHARD Bar­rett’s Bar­tra has backed Bleeper­bike, a bike-shar­ing scheme that had a run in with Dublin City Coun­cil last year.

Bleeper­bike al­lows users to rent out bikes which can be locked up at any bike rack around the city.

It is sim­i­lar to the coun­cil’s Dublin Bikes scheme but with­out hav­ing spe­cific dock­ing sta­tions.

Founder and CEO Hugh Cooney said it was go­ing to use the €75,000 in­vested by Mr Bar­rett to fin­ish out an R&D pro­gramme for the next ver­sion of its bike.

The cur­rent bikes are stan­dard push­bikes but Mr Cooney plans to in­tro­duce a so-called e-bike, which has an elec­tric mo­tor in­cor­po­rated to help boost power.

Mr Bar­rett was a prin­ci­pal of the prop­erty firm Trea­sury Hold­ings along­side well-known de­vel­oper Johnny Ro­nan.

Mr Cooney worked for that busi­ness in China and has known Mr Bar­rett since that time.

Bleeper­bike planned to launch the scheme last year but ran into prob­lems with Dublin City Coun­cil which said it wanted to put bye-laws in place to man­age the scheme first.

The bikes were then with­drawn from the streets, and after the by­laws were put in place Bleeper­bike was given a li­cence to op­er­ate, along with an­other firm, Urbo.

Bleeper­bike gets its name from a ma­chine at­tached that makes a “bleep” when the bikes are locked and un­locked from the bike rack.

Mr Cooney got the idea hav­ing ob­served sta­tion­less bike-shar­ing dur­ing his time in China.

“The fo­cus is to do a good job in Dublin so we’re launch­ing in Blan­chard­stown this month with Fin­gal County Coun­cil, and we have pi­lots up and run­ning across Dun Laoghaire-Rath­down and South Dublin as well,” Mr Cooney said.

“There’s a fair lo­gis­tics and op­er­a­tional chal­lenges to get right so we’re not look­ing very much be­yond Dublin un­til we get that go­ing re­ally well.

“Then we’ll see what op­por­tu­ni­ties are around at that time,” he added.

Dick Brady and Lau­ren Richards, Dublin City Coun­cil; Sean O’Dwyer, di­rec­tor of Urbo bikes; Celine Reilly, Dublin City Coun­cil; Hugh Cooney, CEO of Bleeper­bike; Cllr Ciaran Cuffe; and Kevin Meade, Dublin City Coun­cil, at the an­nounce­ment in May that two op­er­a­tors, Urbo and Bleeper­bike, had been granted li­cences to op­er­ate bike-hire schemes. Inset, Richard Bar­rett

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