Model – Free bicycles for all
The excerpt of the article below from Planet Ark’s Environmental News tells of a new free bike scheme for Parisian citizens. Such bike schemes have occurred before with mixed results. Read on – could you persuade someone in your city to take on this model? Do you know of some of the unsuccessful results in such schemes? Comments are welcome below.
Paris Woos Cyclists as Free Bike Scheme Takes Off
FRANCE: August 1, 2007
The “Velib” — short for “free bike” — programme launched in Paris this month has been a runaway success for Mayor Bertrand Delanoe, allowing thousands of Parisians and visitors to leave their cars at home to pedal to work or to the shops. Similar systems exist in other European countries, as city administrations struggle to ease both traffic gridlock and air pollution, but the French capital has the most ambitious scheme.
Some 616,000 users have signed up to be able to pick up bikes at more than 750 points in Paris for daily subscriptions of one euro.
“People have taken to the service very quickly. We’re getting around 1,200 requests for registration a day,” said France Pele from the Paris city hall.
The sturdy grey-green bikes have become a common sight, with people ranging from students to business executives weaving through traffic. Even screen legend Alain Delon has had a go.
“It’s very good, I really like it. Although having said that, I can’t get this thing to work now,” said Roland Martinez, a salesman struggling to clip his bike back into place at a pickup point near the Tuileries gardens.
Paris is unlikely ever to rival classic bicycling cities like Amsterdam. But Velib is a revolution in a city with a vast metro network but an increasingly choked road system, where bicycling has long been looked on with suspicion.
Some 10,000 bikes are already in place and the scheme is set to double in size by the end of the year to include around 20,000 bikes and 1,450 pick up points, one every 300 metres.
The first half hour is free, which organisers believe will cover most users, though longer journeys are possible on a mounting scale of charges. Longer term subscriptions for up to a year are also possible.
To read the full article, click here.