Happier days for Vélib’ in Paris
JCDecaux, which operated the Paris Vélib ‘self-service bicycle service for ten years before losing the market to Smovengo last year, said on March 8 that its successor was not up to the challenge of the delays accumulated in its launch.
The Smovengo consortium chosen last spring by the Autolib ‘Vélib’ Métropole union at the expense of JCDecaux, had promised to install 1,400 new stations (or 20,000 Vélib) by March 31st. According to the latest figures, only 345 stations were in service, making this schedule unreachable. Faced with the controversy and anger of Vélib’ users, the City of Paris announced that it was sending municipal staff to supervise the deployment and work of the provider, a rare decision
Reuters info. Published on 08/03/2018. With Reuters (Gwénaëlle Barzic, with Geert De Clercq, Dominique Rodriguez). Full text in French available at https://www.usinenouvelle.com/article/velib-le-plus-dur-est-a-venir-previent-l-ex-prestataire-jcdecaux.N663859
“THEY MISS THE EASIEST”
This situation does not leave the former operator, JCDecaux, indifferent. “What I see is that they are not up to the challenge,” said Jean-Charles Decaux, co-CEO of JCDecaux, during a press conference for the presentation of the annual results of the group. “And in addition they miss the easiest,” said the leader, adding that the current site Smovengo was essentially to install new terminals for bicycles, the connections have already been made by JCDecaux.
“The rest is complicated, it’s about managing the bikes, it’s about managing the subscribers, it’s about answering subscribers who are not happy,” he added.
When he won the contract for the first time in 2007, JCDecaux had deployed 10,000 bicycles in four and a half months while all electrification was to be done, he said, surprised that the SME did not retained during the transfer none of the executives who previously worked for JCDecaux. “Then they are unconscious or they are arrogant but in both cases it is special,” said the leader.
The family group, which generated a new record turnover last year, filed an appeal with the Paris Administrative Court, which dismissed it. He then appealed to the Council of State which has not yet decided.
Smovengo, against which penalties of one million euros per month of delay have been decided, now plans to deploy about fifty stations per week at a minimum
One thousand stations promised for spring
“Our goal, given the initial delays related to the difficulty of the handover between the two operators and very short implementation deadlines, remains to have opened a thousand stations in spring,” said a spokesperson in a statement sent to Reuters. The consortium, which associates the SMoove-based SME in Montpellier with the companies Indigo, parking specialist, Mobivia (car maintenance) and Moventia (mobility), had created the surprise by winning what is the largest market for self-service bicycles in the world.
The mixed union, which includes Paris and partner municipalities, had at the time put forward bikes lighter and stronger against vandalism. Smovengo’s offer was also cheaper than JCDecaux’s. “The public order should be less naive about the prices that are in the offers and then make much more in-depth analyzes,” said Jean-Charles Decaux, indicating that his group had already won budgets, judging the price practiced by Smovengo untenable in the long run.
“I put pressure, there are penalties that are very very strong,” said for France Inter the Mayor of Paris Anne Hidalgo promising 100% operation for late April, early May.
While the change of Vélib ‘dealer is difficult, the operators of self-service bicycles, especially Asian, have spread in the capital with more or less success. The Hong Kong start-up Gobee.bike threw in the towel in late February.
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Editor’s note: As you can well imagine there are almost as many interpretations of this troubled project as there are today working public bicycles on the streets of the city. We are working to sort this out for our readers, not least because there are a number of important matters which need to be understood, especially if your city is considering something along these lines. Stay tuned to World Streets – More f on Velib’ – https://worldstreets.wordpress.com/tag/velib-case-study/ and on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/worldcitybike/
About the editor:
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Bio: Educated as an international development economist, Eric Britton is an American political scientist, teacher and sustainability activist who has worked on missions and advisory assignments on all continents. Professor of Sustainable Development, Economy and Democracy at the Institut Supérieur de Gestion (Paris), he is also MD of EcoPlan Association, an independent advisory network providing strategic counsel for government and business on policy and decision issues involving complex systems, social-technical change, civil society and sustainable development. Founding editor of World Streets: The Politics of Transport in Cities | See Britton online at https://goo.gl/9CJXTh and @ericbritton