Monday, 15 August 2011

SDP on tour .... Vélib

Vélib. From vélo (bicycle) + liberté (freedom). The public bike sharing sheme in Paris.

Early one morning I came across this relocation worker, who picks up bikes where there are too many and redistributes them to under-resourced stations.

According to Wikipedia, the scheme was launched on 15 July 2007, and now has over 20,000 bicycles and 1,202 bicycle stations across Paris.  Apparently the daily average number of rides is 110, 000.

Vélib’ is operated by JCDecaux, a major French advertising corporation. We know JCDecaux in Sydney as the provider of bus shelters, lightpoles and public toilets.

I am far too scared to try riding in paris, though a friend who has assures me that car drivers are so much more considerate than they are in Sydney, which is where my riding on the road fear comes from. Hats off to Paris for implementing this fantastic scheme. Does your city have anything similar? One issue to overcome here is that it is mandatory to wear a helmet when cycling.

The pricing regime is really affordable. Wikipedia again: "In order to use the system, users need to take out a subscription, which allows the subscriber an unlimited number of rentals. Subscriptions can be purchased at €1.70 per day, €8/week or €29/year. With a subscription, bike rental is free for the first half hour of every individual trip; an unlimited number of such free trips can be made per day. A trip that lasts longer than 30 minutes incurs a charge of €1 to €4 for each subsequent 30-minute period. The increasing price scale is intended to keep the bikes in circulation."

Read more here, including about issues such as theft, vandalism, maintenance and uneven distribution.

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