Monday, September 14, 2009

Velib', Paris Rent a Bike

In July, 2007 the City of Paris began a new self service "bicycle transit stystem" called Velib'. Still going strong with 1451 pick up and drop off locations and 20,600+ bicycles, the idea has proven to be a grand one. Everywhere you go in Paris you see these bikes in use. The city even has special trucks that pick up excess bikes and take them to other locations as the supply and demand shifts throughout the day (computerized you know). The cost is nominal and payment is made quite painless. In addition, the city has over 371 km of cycling lanes, which hopefully keeps the cyclists out of harm's way in the bustling (hellacious) Paris traffic. And did I mention that biking is good for the environment as well? Score one for the City of Paris!

Oh, and don't bother asking if I rode one. You know the answer to that.


Karen said...

Hahahah.. I will if you will.
I thought about it but seeing the traffic I just didn't feel brave enough. I did think about one of those escorted bike tours and I'd really like to try the Segway one.
I read somewhere that the Velib stations don't like US credit cards. We don't have the chip that the euro cards have. Same in the Metro machines for tickets. Wish our CC card companies would get with the program and also stop charging for converting currency..
End of rant..
16 days!

JuL said...

The traffic is not really an issue. Most bus lanes can be used by bikes, and the slower the cars the faster you can cylcle in between lanes.
Vélib' proves to be about twice as fast as the metro, and thus becomes the fastest transportation within Paris, second only to the motorbike. It's just great !

Virginia said...

Oh yeah, the biking between lanes is what scares me to death to watch! I'd never have the nerve to try it but I think it's a terrific idea. With the lack of parking in the city, I"m sure it has solved a lot of those issues for sure!

You just go right ahead. I want a photo of it too.

Blind Fly Theater said...

You know, V, I've seen photos of these rows of these bikes many times (never been to Paris myself)... but never been introduced to a close-up and explanation. Never even knew the name Velib'.
It's surprising to me how enjoyable such a simple post can be.
David *

Daryl said...

I love bikes .. love taking pix of bikes .. check out my blog this Wednesday

DW Quilt Art said...

When my daughter was in Paris for a semester abroad, they would often use the Velib as a late-night option, after the Metro stops, and when traffic was light, BUT, her US credit card would not work, so their Norwegian friend would have to use her credit card for all the Americans. I have yet to try Velib but do so want to!

JuL said...

You should still be able to get a yearly pass (29 €, quite cheap compared to the 1 € daily pass), which is much more convenient since you only need to swipe it against a velib slot to release the bike.

Virginia said...

You're right about the credit card thing. THey told me in some restaurants that we need the "shiny"thing on the front. The 29E deal for a year is a fabulous deal. And in addition, you don't have to try and chain up your personal bike, store it etc! I'm still not riding one but glad others can! :)

Starman said...

The velib is a real success story. And not just for Paris. It actually began many years ago in Marseille. American credit cards used to have the Smart Card feature but they stopped making them for some reason. The American Express Card still has them though. Even the Blue card, I think.

JuL said...

Nope, it didn't start in Marseilles, but in Lyon.

Eki said...

what a vantage angle, V! it's the photographer in you ... i love the top photo.

BlueJayEye said...

Hi, first time in your blog and i love your love for all things Parisian. Thanks for sharing them.

Virginia said...

Blue Jay,

So glad to see you here! Hurry back. I will be visiting your Bandung DP soon as well.

Starman said...

@JuL - You're wasn't Marseille. Sorry about that. But it did begin in La Rochelle in 1974, more than 30 years before Lyon, which began in 2005. Both Lyon and Paris are subsidized by JCDecaux in return for permission to setup billboards.

StyleSpy said...

First off, what a marvelous picture! At first I thought it was a black & white photo that had been hand-colored. Beautiful.

I'm thinking I'm going to be trying out the Velibs when I'm there this spring. I like the idea of how much shoe leather I could save, not to mention time.

tapirgal said...

We saw these and wondered how the collected the payments. I'd be interested to hear!