It's Not All Pedaling in the Park for Paris' Velib Bike Sharing Program
Here in the US, the bike sharing thing is still catching on, as even spots like New York City are getting used to pedal power. However, Paris is pretty much and expert, as their bike share system—Vélib'—has been doing its thing since around 2007. Unfortunately bike sharing may have caught on too well, as the Paris system is going through a rough patch.
It’s not just bicycle theft that’s a problem, as vandalism is also to blame for the city’s dwindling pedal population. According to Le Monde there were around 9,000 bikes damaged, stolen, or uh—misplaced—just last year alone. They’re expensive to repair and replace as well, as new bikes cost around €650 per vehicle. All in all the city thinks it spent like €1 million just last year to keep things rolling.
This summer alone 35 different stations that had to be shut down, as they were short on bikes or had been damaged by hooligans. That’s especially a bummer when you’re looking forward to returning your bike after a little ride, and you discover the place you’re supposed to swap things out is closed for business.
You’re welcome to blame kids, drunks, or road ragers who take out their frustration after hours; however, whatever the problem is it means fewer bikes for Paris tourists and locals alike. Right now there’s only 14,000 bicycles in circulation, down from close to 24,000. We’re thinking Vélib' will be able to stand the test of time, but it just might do so with a smaller footprint and some banged up bikes.
[Photo: luc legay]