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Paris Velib Crushed by Vandalism?

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PARIS, France – From the start of the bike rental program in Paris in July 2007 Velib has set an example of the possibilities of urban bike mobility to the rest of the world. However it was no secret from the beginning that Velib was suffering under vandalism. JCDecaux, who maintains the fleet of 15,000 Velibs recently sounded the alarm

Paris Velib Crushed by Vandalism?

PARIS, France – From the start of the bike rental program in Paris in July 2007 Vélib has set an example of the possibilities of urban bike mobility to the rest of the world. However it was no secret from the beginning that Vélib was suffering under vandalism.

JCDecaux, who maintains the fleet of 15,000 Vélibs recently sounded the alarm as it can no longer afford the repair and maintenance bill. The outdoor advertising company has pleaded with Paris Mayor, Bertrand Delanoë to provide financial support.

According to JCDecaux 7,800 of the original 15,000 bikes have disappeared or stolen and 11,600 have been vandalised. Since the start of the program the bikes have been used 42 million times, or an average every bike 2,800 times!

In exchange for running the scheme, the Paris town hall gave JCDecaux a ten-year licence to run 1,600 of the capital’s billboards. Rémi Pheulpin, JCDecaux’s director general, said that he was losing out on the deal as “the extent of the vandalism could not have been foreseen. The costs are so high that a private business cannot handle it alone, especially as it’s a problem of public order. If we want the Vélib’ keep on going, we will have to change the business model.”

The Paris city council, which makes € 20 million per year from the Vélib’ bike hire scheme, has refused to bail out JCDecaux. But it is considering launching an anti-vandalism public awareness operation.

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