Paris bike scheme clocks up one million rides

3rd August 2007, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, Aug 3, 2007 (AFP) - Parisians have taken a shine to their city's new bike rental scheme, clocking up one million rides since its launch, Paris city hall announced on Thursday.

PARIS, Aug 3, 2007 (AFP) - Parisians have taken a shine to their city's new bike rental scheme, clocking up one million rides since its launch, Paris city hall announced on Thursday.

More than 10,000 gleaming grey "Velib" bicycles went up for rental at 750 stations across the city on July 15, with their number set to double to 20,600 by the end of the year.

City authorities want residents and tourists to adopt the eco-friendly new system en masse, and according to Denis Baupin, deputy mayor for transport, each bike is already used on average six times per day.

"Once all the stations are up and running, Velib will be carrying as many people as the Paris tramway," he said.

Velib, a contraction of the French words "velo" (bike) and "liberte" (freedom), is modelled on a successful scheme in the city of Lyon run by advertising giant JC Decaux.

JC Decaux is covering the cost of the venture in exchange for exclusive rights to 1,600 hoardings across the city.

Registered bikers pay 29 euros (38 dollars) a year for the rental service while occasional cyclists can use a credit card to pay a one-off daily fee of one euro or weekly charge of five euros.

Rental is free for the first half hour, rising to one euro for the second, two for the next and so on -- a progressive fee system that is designed to encourage short rents and quick turnover.

Paris joins such European cities as Barcelona, Geneva, Stockholm, Oslo and Vienna, which offer bicycle rentals to try to reduce the number of cars, improve air quality and provide a fun alternative to underground transport.

Paris mayor Bertrand Delanoe has ordered a feasability study on extending the scheme into the Paris suburbs.

AFP

Subject: French news

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