Velib Bike Share Makes Majority of Users Happy - So Stop Vandalising Bikes, Says the City

Velib Vandalism photo

Photo via
Velib Vandalism photo

A recent TNS-Sofres survey on the Vélib official blog found a whopping 94% of Vélib users are "completely satisfied" (19%) or "mostly satisfied" with the bike share service. Just 6 percent of survey users reported that they are unhappy with the service. And incredibly, after just two years, it is estimated that the bikes are approaching 45 million uses annually - about 120,000 trips daily, and 175,000 members. To counter the scarily high (and expensive) rate of vandalism and bike theft reported, the city has launched an advertising campaign with the slogan, "Vélib is yours, protect it!"
Velib Vandalism-2 photo

Pretty, but still vandalism. Via velib-pourri.
Véliberté: It's yours, don't abuse it
JCDecaux, the outdoor advertising company that runs Vélib, complained about the high level of vandalism, and the recent numbers, if true, are incredible: since inception in 2007, 8,000 bikes have disappeared, and 16,000 have been vandalized. So the new ad campaign is aimed at reminding Parisians that the service belongs to everyone - véliberté, or bike freedom, is only possible if people take care of the bikes, is the message. There's now a page on the Vélib web site where abandoned Vélibs can be (anonymously) reported.

JCDecaux previously has complained about the alarming rate at which bicycles have been abused in the program, and speculation was that the company wanted to negotiate a better deal with the city of Paris. JCDecaux spent $115 million to start up Vélib back in 2007, while Paris gets any revenue that the program generates plus over $4 million US in annual fees. In return, JCDecaux has control of hundreds of public-owned ad spaces.

Six Vélib deaths, thousands served daily
Vélib bike sharing, the world's most extensive program with over 20,000 bikes, has claimed six lives in accidents during its two-year history. (For comparison, about 30,000 people die each year in the U.S. in traffic fatalities; while in France the number is approximately 8,000 per year).

In spite of the problems, Vélib is continuing to grow. JCDecaux plans to introduce a bike less able to be vandalized, and the system is being rolled out to Parisian suburbs Boulogne-Billancourt and a total of 3,000 bikes and 300 stations are being added. The City of Paris is picking up the tab for the new equipment, though JCDecaux is responsible for operations and maintenance. This is part of the recent renegotiation of the City's contract with JCDecaux, which also included more reparations to JCDecaux for vandalism-damaged bikes. Estimates for the cost of each bike have been hard to come by - some sources say between 400 to 500 Euros ($550 - $700).

Read more about Vélib at TreeHugger
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