Vélib’ was for ten years an exemplary large-scale public bicycle sharing system in Paris, France. Launched on 15 July 2007, the system encompassed around 14,500 bicycles and 1,230 bicycle stations, conveniently located across Paris and in some surrounding municipalities, with an average daily ridership topping 100,000 in 2017. (Ridership, other key data to be updated.) The name Vélib’ is a portmanteau of the French words vélo (English: “bicycle”) and liberté (“freedom”).
After ten years of sensational performance offering handy and almost free bikes to hundreds of thousands of satisfied Parisians and visitors every day, the project suddenly went terribly wrong as it was preparing to go into a new phase, and has in the last months crashed out of existence. As a result Paris and the world are poorer places
Why did this happen? What are the losses? Were they inevitable? And what are the lessons to be learned? Yes of course in Paris for the future of shared bikes there, but also in towns and cities around the world who might wish to learn these lessons for their own shared bicycle initiatives.
We here at World Streets, who have been following and riding Vélib’s (and Vélo’v’s) literally every day since opening day in Paris on 15 July 2007, have decided to have a look-in on this unexpected story — and in the coming months see what happens if we can share our observations and findings with our international readers and others who may care to drop in here to see if they can find useful information and views on this strange and most unexpected turn of events. Let’s get started.
Researcher/student quick reference/toolkit
This might come in handy to get you started in your research:
* GOOGLE ON VELIB’ – Global: https://bit.ly/2w10O0S
* WIKIPEDIA ON VELIB’ – https://bit.ly/2I2NEVT (Ridership, other key data to be updated.)
* WORLD STREETS ON VELIB’ – https://bit.ly/2vZwunc
* INTRODUCTORY VIDEO (2008) – http://www.streetfilms.org/velib%E2%80%99/
* PRINCIPALS -1: VELIB’ and “VILLE DE PARIS” – https://bit.ly/2HEjAk1
* PRINCIPALS -2: VÉLIB’ and JCDECAUX – https://bit.ly/2HGpkpB
* PRINCIPALS -3: VELIB’and SMAV – https://bit.ly/2KrTOxh
* PRINCIPALS -4: VELIB’ and SMOVENGO – https://bit.ly/2FtxfVf
* PRINCIPALS -5: VELIB’ and GOBEE BIKE – https://bit.ly/2JHOowU
* FACEBOOK, “THE PITY OF IT ALL”. Selected Vélib’ postings at https://bit.ly/2w8dKlR
* ENTER: THE GUARDIAN comes to visit Paris and Vélib’ (2010) – https://wp.me/psKUY-MZ
* EXIT: THE GUARDIAN comes again (Ten years later. Dec. 2017) – https://bit.ly/2KpakOl
* FACEBOOK LOOKS AT CITY CYCLING – https://www.facebook.com/groups/worldcitybike
* WORLD STREETS ON CITY CYCLING at https://worldstreets.wordpress.com/tag/city-cycling/
COMMENTS, SUGGESTIONS AND REFERENCES will be most welcome as we and others work on what we intend as an open, continuing, collaborative problem solving project. These tools, materials and views will also come in handy for the proposed Master Classes on New Mobility Challenges ( – https://www.facebook.com/NewMobilityMasterClass/)
CONTACT: editor(at)ecoplan.org – Skype: newmobility (one word) T. + 336 5088 0787
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Wikipedia on Vélib’ (30 April 2018)
- https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/V%C3%A9lib%27 (Ridership and other key data to be updated here shortly.)
Transit type Bicycle sharing system
Locale Paris, France and cities around.
Number of stations 1,229 (2014)
Daily ridership 108,090 (2014)
285,830 annual subscribers (2014) – ca. 300,000 (2017)
Began operation 15 July 2007
Ended operation 31 December 2017
Operator(s) JCDecaux (2007-2017)
Number of vehicles 18,200
Vélib’ was a large-scale public bicycle sharing system in Paris, France. Launched on 15 July 2007, the system encompasses around 14,500 bicycles and 1,230 bicycle stations, located across Paris and in some surrounding municipalities, with an average daily ridership of 85,811 in 2011. The name Vélib’ is a portmanteau of the French words vélo (English: “bicycle”) and liberté (“freedom”).
Vélib’ is operated as a concession by the French advertising corporation JCDecaux. As of 2014, Vélib’ is the world’s 12th-largest bikesharing program by the number of bicycles in circulation; the rest of the top 18 are in Chinese cities. As of July 2013, Velib’ has the highest market penetration with 1 bike per 97 inhabitants, followed by Vélo’v in Lyon with 1 bike per 121 residents, and Hangzhou in China with 1 per 145. Since December 2011, Vélib’ has been complemented by Autolib’, an electric car sharing scheme operating on similar principles.
The system ended on 31 December 2017, replaced by Vélib’ Métropole (https://www.velib-metropole.fr/en_GB)
* Full text of this summary at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/V%C3%A9lib%27
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Comments, suggestions and references will be most welcome as we work on what we intend as an open, continuing, collaborative problem solving project. These tools, materials and views will also come in handy for the proposed Master Classes on New Mobility Innovations.
Contact us at: email@example.com – Skype: newmobility (one word) T.. + 336 5088 0787
About the editor:
9, rue Gabillot, 69003 Lyon France
Bio: Educated as a development economist, Francis Eric Knight Britton is an American political scientist, teacher and sustainability activist who has taught and worked on missions and advisory assignments on all continents. Professor of Sustainable Development, Economy and Democracy at the Institut Supérieur de Gestion (Paris, New York), he is MD of EcoPlan Association, an independent non-profit advisory network providing strategic counsel for government and business on policy and decision issues involving complex systems, social-technical change, incomplete information, civil society and sustainable development. Founding editor of World Streets: Climate/Action/Plan 2019-2020. In the autumn of 2018 he committed his remaining life work to the challenges of countering climate change from GHG emissions from the mobility sector. (For more see Britton online at https://goo.gl/9CJXTh, @ericbritton. email at firstname.lastname@example.org) and Skype: newmobility.)