The Pity of it all. Paris, Vélib’, Success, Failure . . . and Why?

Visual evidence. Happier days in Paris: Vélib’ at work 2008

The story in brief

  • From Wikipedia and in the broad lines accurate if not entirely up to date.

Transit type Bicycle sharing system
Locale Paris, France and cities around.

Number of stations 1,229
Daily ridership 108,090 (2014)
285,830 annual subscribers (2014)

Began operation 15 July 2007
Ended operation 31 December 2017
Operator(s) JCDecaux (2007-2017)
Number of vehicles 18,200[1]

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.[7] Since December 2011, Vélib’ has been complemented by Autolib’, an electric car sharing scheme operating on similar principles.[8][9]

The system ended on 31 December 2017, replaced by Vélib’ Métropole.

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Researcher/student quick toolkit:

Full text of this summary at

*  Ridership and other key data to be updated here shortly.

  * FACEBOOK: More on this at

  *   The Guardian comes to visit Paris and Vélib’ (2010) –

   * WORLD STREETS: more at

  * GOOGLE combined search:  Global:  + News:  Videos:

  * Business overview:  Googling Vélib’and JCDecaux    –

  * Google “Britton AND Velib” : Global:  News:   Videos:

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About the editor:

Eric Britton
13, rue Pasteur. Courbevoie 92400 France

Bio: Founding editor of World Streets (1988), Eric Britton is an American political scientist, teacher, occasional consultant, and sustainability activist who has observed, learned, taught and worked on missions and advisory assignments on all continents. In the autumn of 2019, he committed his remaining life work to the challenges of aggressively countering climate change and specifically greenhouse gas emissions emanating from the mobility sector. He is not worried about running out of work. Further background and updates: @ericbritton | | #fekbritton | | and | Contact: | +336 508 80787 (Also WhatApp) | Skype: newmobility.)

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