Sunday, June 21, 2009

Paris' Bike Rental System A Global Revolution for City Cycling?

(from BikesBelong)

In July 2007, a short-term bike rental program called Vélib debuted in Paris. Designed and created by outdoor advertising giant JCDecaux, the program includes 20,600 rental bikes at 1,451 stations throughout the city, providing an inexpensive, convenient way for people to use bikes for short trips.

The response has been amazing. Parisians and visitors alike are using the bikes in huge numbers, racking up 11 million trips by November 2007. A bike rental is free for the first 30 minutes, approximately $1.50 for the next half hour, and incrementally more expensive for longer periods. This tiered price structure makes the bikes appealing for short-term trips but discourages users from keeping them overnight, ensuring a ready supply throughout the city.

The Paris program has revolutionized bicycling in the city. As word spreads of its success—and of other programs in Lyon, Barcelona, Vienna, and Berlin—cities worldwide are taking notice. Portland, Oregon; San Francisco, California; Washington, D.C.; and Chicago, Illinois, are just a few of the U.S. cities expressing interest in creating similar programs.

To help spread the word, Bikes Belong created a short video about the Paris program. Check it out to see the bike system in action and learn more about how it works.

Bikes Belong Vélib Video: approximately 4:49

Bikes Belong presents: Velib from Bikes Belong Coalition on Vimeo

Read these articles to learn more about how Vélib is inspiring cities worldwide.

New York Times: Finding Liberté on Two Wheels

Economist: Vive la Vélorution!

BusinessWeek: Paris Bike Rental Scheme Goes Global

AFP Wire: European-Style Bike-Sharing Programs Head to U.S.