Velib Bike Rentals Super Popular in Paris
When Paris started its might-as-well-be-free bike rental program this summer, we wondered whether it would work or be laughed off as another gimmick that locals would love to hate. Turns out, everyone loves it: In just a few months, Parisians and tourists alike have logged 3.7 million rides on the clunky 50-pound bikes.
Hundreds of automated rental stations are scattered around the city, so picking up and dropping off a bike is easy enough. The only hassle is a small fee for a one- or seven-day "subscription," payable by credit card. (Hassle number two: You'll need an embedded RFID chip, which only certain cards carry.)
Still, dealing with a bit of bureaucracy is about as Parisian as having a cafe au lait. And after you snag your bike, all you have to do is pedal around town and enjoy yourself. The program is doing so well that Chicago's mayor, Richard Daley, dropped in to test out the Velibs to see if a similar scheme would work in his city.