On July 15th, the French Capital city launched an interesting public service that enables people to rent bikes to go from on point to another.
This program, called Velib (a contraction of vélo, bike and Liberté, freedom) will comprise by the of the year more than 20,500 bikes dispatched in around 1,400 stations.
Velib proves already to be a big success, as according to this article from Actu-Environnement, nearly 350,000 rentals were concluded during the first week alone.
This makes an average of around 33 rentals for each of 10,000 bikes already in operation in the first week.
The bikes can be rented for a minimum of half an hour and for a price of one euro. Daily, weekly and annual subscriptions are available. For a year, the service costs only 29 € (around 40 USD ).
One needs to note that a down payment of 150 € has to be done to rent a bike. The money is given back at the end of the subscription and serves only as a security for the renting service.
Of course, safety measures and other regulations apply. But with more than 371km of cycling lanes, there is no doubt that cyclist will have a lot of space and many possibilities to circulate safely.
This is part of a plan made by Paris Town Hall to encourage biking in the city and to let cars in the garage. According to the Los Angeles Times, similar programs were launched in various European cities like Barcelona, Vienna, Stockholm and Geneva.
To me, any solution to phase out cars in the busy streets of large towns is a good thing. If people ride more and more bicycles, pollution will decrease and the general health status will improve. So, let’s hope this will be continuing success and that air pollution will decrease in the area.
- Actu-Environnement : Velib’ à Paris, 349.000 utilisateurs pour la première semaine
- BBC News : Paris readies for Velib frenzy ;
- Los Angeles Times : Paris, the city of bikes?
Further reading :
- Velib’ official webpage, www.velib.paris.fr