Tuesday, July 8, 2008

First anniversary of the hugely popular vélib scheme, the cycle experiment, in Paris

As Paris marks this week the first anniversary of the appearance of public bicycles on its streets, other cities are watching ever more closely a hugely successful experiment in self-service public transport.

Since Bertrand Delanoe, the city’s Mayor, took the gamble of putting 16,000 vélibs, short for vélo liberté, or bike freedom, at the disposal of Parisians, the stately grey machines have been taken out for a spin a total of 27 million times. To the pleasure of the left-wing council and the frustration of drivers, cycle traffic has jumped by 70 per cent as Parisians take advantage of the almost-free service.

Vélo city

- Paris’s vélib scheme is by far the biggest in the world. The total number of bikes will reach 20,000 by the end of the year.

- 1,500 bikes are repaired every day, most at the docking stations.

- The fee system is designed to encourage short hires. A day ticket costs €1 (80p), a weekly one €5, an annual one €29. The first half-hour is free, with an additional cost of €1 per half hour.

- The city of Paris has made about €30 million profit in the first year but JCDecaux, the firm that supplies the bikes, is reported to have spent millions over budget because of greater than expected wear and tear, theft and vandalism
A year on, the cycle experiment has hit some bumps - Times Online

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