Dublin's Bike Sharing System Might Be "the Most Successful in the World"

Dublin's bike sharing program, which launched back in September, has been a smashing success (as I imagine the Irish might say). The Dublin City Council is claiming it is "the most successful in the world by any measure." From the Global Post:
Despite predictions that the 450 specially-made bikes, available from 40 stations around the city, would quickly be stolen or tossed in the River Liffey by vandals, only two have been pilfered in the first six months of operation. These were quickly recovered, and none have been vandalized, according to council spokesman Paul Finan.

It helps that the bicycle is ugly and that one needs a credit card to use it. The machine is free for the first half an hour, but costs half a euro ($0.67) for the first full hour, and 6.50 euros for four hours. This ensures that riders don’t leave them lying around, otherwise the final charge on their credit card would be substantial.

“The scheme has exceeded all expectations,” said Finan. “Since its launch in September '09, we are heading for over 500,000 trips with a population of 1.2 million people in the Dublin region.”

It seems they've managed to avoid the vandalism controversy we saw with Paris's program. Brilliant!

Image: The Bike Scheme - Bolton Street, a Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike (2.0) image from infomatique's photostream