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Velib - Free Bikes For Parisians

I'm sorry but I have to laugh because I just knew this would happen. Paris introduced an almost-free bike system about a year ago. Called Vélib (from vélo meaning bike and libre meaning free). Seems some Parisians have taken the free bit a little too literally. Since they were introduced last year 7,900 Velibs have disappeared. As in stolen. Out of 20,000 that were supplied - over a third of them. And most of the original bikes have now been replaced. The company handling the velibrication, JCDecaux, wants the Town Hall to rattle the can to help offset the cost of replacing damaged and stolen Velibs.

I use Velibs quite regularly and I 've been caught several times with bikes with flat tyres, bikes with no lights and bikes where the gears won't change properly. It's a handy service but I can't see it lasting. The thieves are literally tearing the bikes away from their locked stands. I see them abandoned all over my quartier and I've given up taking them back to the Velib station.

Here's a link to the official Vélib site - it's mostly in French.

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Reader Comments (2)

I believe that opportunism and selfishness are unfortunately essential survival instincts for any species, so sadly the Velibes - or any system or practice that relies on the better side of human nature - is doomed.

I hope I'm wrong.
February 22, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterMichael D
It's seems just typical that low-lives would take advantage of a system like this. I fear it's doomed. I like your articles btw, very informative. Especially the SEO ones, which go to prove you don't have to invest $$$$$ to make it happen. A little hard work, and a little ingenuity.

Thank you for sharing.

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