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Mobility platform Bolt and Wicklow County Council launch affordable electric bike rental service in Bray

European shared mobility leader Bolt, in partnership with Wicklow County Council, has officially launched its shared electric bike service in Bray today. The occasion was marked by an event at Bray’s Civic Offices attended by Cathaoirleach Cllr. Melanie Corrigan, Cathaoirleach of Wicklow County Council Cllr Aoife Flynn Kennedy, members of Bray Municipal District and other public representatives.

The bikes can be found at a variety of designated locations throughout the town and rented by the minute. Bolt and Wicklow County Council are confident they will support the transition away from the private car towards a combination of public transport and shared mobility. The service has an affordable €0.18 per minute charge and has been designed to connect to local Dart stations.

The launch coincides with #YourCouncil Day, which is intended to raise awareness of the many services local councils offer across the country. Bolt and Wicklow County Council are hoping the new service fits seamlessly into the local transport offering, and aid the Wicklow County Development Plan 2022-2028 which, amongst other objectives, seeks to facilitate a modal shift to more sustainable transport options.

Bolt offers a range of services on the same app in cities across Europe, but this marks the first time such a ‘multimodal’ service has been available in Ireland, with e-bikes now connecting with Bolt’s existing ride hailing service in Dublin. This means a wide variety of mobility needs can be met within the Bolt app alone. For example, citizens can ride a bicycle to a public transport hub or destination in Bray at the start of the night, and then get home safely by taxi after public transport services have stopped for the night.

Bolt’s electric bike service will operate 24 hours a day. Amongst several other initiatives to ensure Bolt remains a responsible operator, the company will be employing an in-app cognitive reaction test 11 pm to 5 am 7 days a week. This means prospective riders have to prove they are in a fit state to ride a bicycle through their reaction time. If a customer fails this test, they will be encouraged to take a Bolt taxi or use public transport instead, another benefit of offering multiple transport modes within the same ecosystem.

Bolt is taking multiple efforts to ensure the bicycles seamlessly integrate into the lives of riders and pedestrians alike. The roll-out of the bikes will be gradual, starting with an initial 50, scaling up to 100 pending positive feedback from all corners of the community and high levels of demand.

Bikes will be stationed in designated mandatory parking locations on public realm and private property (as agreed with the landowners). This means riders will be instructed where they have to park their bike through the app and physical signage. Locations are intended to be convenient yet unobtrusive, with examples including Shoreline Leisure Bray, Pettitts-SuperValu on the Southern Cross, Ballymore lands on the Dublin Road and of course at Bray’s Dart station. Operations – including the tidying and maintenance of bikes – will run from a town centre base, and feedback of all kinds can be shared in app or by emailing Ireland@bolt.eu.

Bolt is widely experienced in operating micromobility services. The company is the largest electric scooter provider in Europe with over 260,000 scooters across 25 countries, and already has a highly utilised electric bike service in Sligo, Kilkenny and Wexford. Furthermore, Bolt is in talks with several other councils keen to accelerate their active travel services in line with the National Development Plan and the Climate Action Plan.

For those not yet familiar with bicycles with pedal assisted motors, there is ‘Beginner Mode’. This limits the top speed of the bicycle to 15 km/h. Once ‘Beginner Mode’ is turned off, the bicycles have a maximum speed of 25 km/h.

Bolt Operations Manager for Rentals in Ireland, John Buckley, said: “Bolt has seen rapid traction in eBike schemes across a range of Irish cities, driven by strategic parking collaborations and affordable pricing. We’re thrilled to launch our electric bike service in Bray, and what great timing. Your Council Day embodies the value councils bring to their local communities – through this great initiative, we’ll be working with the Council to provide people with sustainable transport options, so that they can make the change where possible.

“It’s also great timing since our recent research revealed that only one-quarter of Irish drivers believe they are likely to give up their car in the next five years*. We’re on a mission to provide and advocate for the alternative, and make cities for people, not cars. Our thanks go to Wicklow County Council for the opportunity.”

The Cathaoirleach of Bray Municipal District, Cllr Melanie Corrigan, said: “I am delighted to launch this e-bike scheme here in Bray on ‘Your Council Day,’ the first of its kind in County Wicklow. It will offer local residents and visitors the opportunity to avail of a sustainable transport option in our town. With the introduction of this e-bike initiative on a pilot basis in Bray, we hope many people will change how they travel by reducing the reliance on private vehicles when travelling short-to-medium distances. Now more than ever, with both the climate and energy crisis, it is vital to provide facilities that allow the public to choose alternative modes of travel. This e-bike sharing scheme allows us to choose to travel in a more sustainable way and enjoy the social, environmental and health benefits of cycling.”

Emer O’Gorman Chief Executive, Wicklow County Council stated: “I welcome this low-carbon, sustainable e-bike scheme which will provide a vital transport option to the community of Bray. The initiative is a significant step forward towards fulfilling yet another commitment under our programme for Climate Action. Bray is an ideal town for this initiative and hopefully, it will encourage more people to cycle over short trips and connect with DART and bus services in the town. It has been shown that e-bike users cycle further and more often so the benefit will extend beyond low carbon sustainability and will contribute towards the health and wellbeing of our citizens.”

Lorraine Gallagher, District Manager, Bray Municipal District added: “This is an excellent initiative which will assist in promoting the many benefits of sustainable travel to the people of Bray, and I would like to commend the project team from Bolt and Wicklow County Council for bringing this initiative to fruition and for choosing Bray. I would also like to thank local businesses who have worked with the project team in allowing bike parking bays to be installed on their property. I expect this shared electric bike scheme to be incredibly popular and will provide the enthusiasm for this Council to explore and introduce further sustainable and affordable travel initiatives going forward.”

Learn more about how to rent a Bolt bike here.