Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Bike thefts plague Vélib

According to the BBC news article Thefts puncture Paris bike scheme, over half of the bikes used by the bike sharing system Vélib in Paris have been stolen. Most have been replaced, but the costs have escalated. "The company which runs the scheme, JCDecaux, says it can no longer afford to operate the city-wide network."

When I visited Paris recently I used Vélib extensively. I did notice that some of the bikes have been abused, so much so that one had to be careful ensuring that the bikes were in good order before checking them out. The system is relatively new and it will take a while to work out some of the problems. The bikes are very popular in Paris and we're quite sure that a solution will be found.

Update: Reports of Vélib's Demise Greatly Exaggerated from Streetsblog gives some perspective on the bike theft problem. JCDecaux, the advertising firm that runs Vélib, may be inflating the problem as they negotiate to renew their contract with the city of Paris. JCDecaux is still making a great deal of money from the advertising. Hat tip to Kottke.

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