Takeaway firm Just Eat pays €2.25m to sponsor Dublin Bikes
Assistant council chief says money will help to fund expansion of service around city
Sinn Féin Lord Mayor pf Dublin Mícheál MacDonncha at the announcement of a new sponsorship deal for Dublin Bikes with takeaway order firm Just Eat.Photograph: Naoise Culhane.
The popular bike hire service has been operating in the city since 2009 as a partnership between outdoor advertising company JC Decaux and Dublin City Council.
The company funded the scheme in exchange for advertising space on the city streets, with additional revenue coming through subscriptions and hire charges.
However, despite the popularity of the scheme, it ran at a loss and in 2014 a three-year deal was struck which saw each bike branded with Coca-Cola Zero livery in return for investment.
From the end of next month the Coke Zero branding will be replaced with a Just Eat logo on more than 1,500 bikes at 102 stations around the city.
The contract will see Just Eat invest €2.25 million in the scheme over the next three years, an increase of 15 per cent on the Coca-Cola deal, the council’s assistant chief executive Richard Shakespeare said.
“Coca-Cola finishes up at the end of August, I think they are happy that they have got their message out there now, and from our point of view the new contract represents a 15 per cent increase which will help fund the expansion of the service.”
The next phase of expansion will see the introduction of bikes to the DIT Grangegorman campus in Dublin 7.
Mr Shakespeare said he did not see any difficultly with the bike scheme being used to promote takeaway food.
“Just Eat has a strong internet presence so we’re hoping the partnership will create more awareness of the Dublin Bike scheme online. I don’t see any difficulty with the link with takeaways, it’s about balance - everything in moderation, including moderation itself.”
Amanda Roche Kelly, managing director of Just Eat Ireland, said there were “lots of synergies” between the two brands. She said there were healthy restaurant options available on Just Eat as well as fast food.
Many city councillors had initially opposed commercial sponsorship of the bikes, but Lord Mayor of Dublin Mícheál Mac Donncha said it was a reasonable step if it secured the future of the scheme.
“Sponsorship is necessary for the scheme to continue, and it is still a civic bike scheme no matter who is advertising with it.”
Joanne Grant, managing director of JC Decaux Ireland, which was responsible for securing the sponsor, said it would allow the scheme to “operate at a surplus” for the council instead of a loss.