Velib hire scheme extended to Paris suburbs

1st April 2009, Comments 1 comment

By the end of this year, the popular bicycle hire scheme in Paris will be extended to its 29 suburbs.

BOULOGNE-BILLANCOURT – The French capital's hugely popular cycle hire scheme, Velib, rolled outside the city for the first time on Tuesday as the first of 29 suburbs was plugged into the network.

Boulogne-Billancourt, just west of Paris, cut the ribbon on 21 docking stations filled with gleaming new bikes, with the easy-access scheme to be extended to the inner suburbs surrounding the capital by the end of the year.

Each of the suburban towns, from leafy Boulogne to rougher suburbs like Montreuil or Aubervilliers – will get an average of 10 docking stations, with a total of 3,300 cycles to be placed by year's end.

Paris mayor Bertrand Delanoe, who championed the original scheme and who lobbied for it to be extended to the suburbs, inaugurated the Boulogne network.

The city of Paris is stumping up EUR 8 million for the set-up of the suburb network, while JC Decaux, the advertising group that covers the cost of Velib, picks up the bill for labour and local authorities for roadworks.

Velib, a contraction of velo (bike) and liberte (freedom), is the largest scheme of its kind in the world, and has inspired similar bike-share efforts in cities across Europe.

The scheme has been adopted en masse by Parisians, clocking one million rentals in its first 18 days, and its citywide fleet of 20,000 bikes, docked in 1,450 stations, now boasts more than 40 million rides.

But it has also fallen prey to serial acts of vandalism with some 7,800 bikes stolen and 11,800 damaged since it was launched, at a huge cost to the operator JC Decaux.

An average of 100 to 150 Velibs go missing or are damaged every week, with battered bikes turning up as far away as Morocco – or used as teenage stunt-bikes in YouTube videos.

Rider safety has also been a concern, with Velib users accounting for four of the five cycling deaths reported in Paris in 2008.

AFP / Expatica

1 Comment To This Article

  • iliveherenow posted:

    on 1st April 2009, 18:03:46 - Reply

    It is sad that some people just will not accept something offered by community without wanting to destroy it. My question is though, you must use your id to get the bike so, why don't they follow up better?

    Ghetto attitude = ghetto activities. These are likely the same people who ruin lovely places by writing their initials on public spaces.

    One time on the metro I saw a kid writing on the wall in front of a metro employee - shameless! Both of them. The kid for doing it and the adult for not saying anything. Pathetic - again where is the response to these young morons. It is like, nobody really cares what the young people are doing.