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Cities Delay Implementing Bike Rental Systems

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LONDON, UK – The French bicycle rental system Velib has set an example for the rest of the world. At the introduction in July 2007 it was regarded to be the best option for such urban mobility schemes. For many other cities Velib has been the benchmark for obtaining their own bike rental system. But all that changed as

Cities Delay Implementing Bike Rental Systems

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LONDON, UK – The French bicycle rental system Vélib has set an example for the rest of the world. At the introduction in July 2007 it was regarded to be the best option for such urban mobility schemes. For many other cities Vélib has been the benchmark for obtaining their own bike rental system.

But all that changed as the Paris’ City Council has learned from the disadvantages of Vélib as it became the victim of widespread vandalism.

With this widespread vandalism and the costs involved the company that launched Vélib and is operating it in Paris, the outdoor advertising company JCDecaux, does not want to implement the bike rental system in other cities under the same conditions as in the French capital. As a result other cities are reconsidering the requirements for the bike rental systems they are looking for. The Italian city Torino for example has withdrawn their official tender as only JCDecaux and Clear Channel Outdoor were able to meet the requirements set by the city council.

For the same reason London is currently in the process of fact-finding before they will issue an official tender for their bike rental scheme. According to London’s initial requirements only JCDecaux and Clear Channel Outdoor could technically supply the bike rental system. However, due to the economic situation the advertising revenues of both outdoor advertising companies have fallen considerably. For JCDecaux as well as Clear Channel Outdoor operating the billboards that come with bike rental systems like Vélib is no longer profitable. This is delaying the implementation of the bike rental system in the English capital.

It is doubtful whether the current economic downturn would mean the end of Vélib and other successful bike rental schemes. As the 27 member states of the European Union have committed themselves to bring down CO2 emissions by 20% in  the next decade; bike rental systems are a relatively cheap measure that will contribute to this EU regulation. The fact that JCDecaux and Clear Channel Outdoor might not be able to sell their concepts so easily any longer might give space to other bike rental systems or the bike industry to enter this market.

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