Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Paris bike rental plan

Many people mentioned an article in the Saturday Post about a Paris bike rental scheme in which thousands of bicycles will be placed in special racks throughout the city. There is a refundable deposit (about $200), yearly membership fee (about $40), and hourly rental rates. The best part of the system is that the first half hour is free. Most local trips take less than that, so frequent users who travel short distances pay very little for use of the bikes. The bikes are locked and can only be used with a credit card.
"We think it could change Paris's image -- make it quieter, less polluted, with a nicer atmosphere, a better way of life."

But there is a practical side, too, Dumesnil said. A recent study analyzed different trips in the city "with a car, bike, taxi and walking, and the bikes were always the fastest."
The Paris plan is based on a very successful bike rental system in Lyon, France. Densities in Fairfax may not be high enough to support such a system now, but soon the Tysons Corner area will reach urban densities and rental bikes like those in France could possibly work there.

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