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“Vélib is here to stay,” say officials

Buffered Bike Lane with a bike symbol and arrow pointing forward

A Vélib bicycle
(Photo: austinevan on Flickr)

We reported yesterday on a BBC article predicting the demise of Paris’s Vélib bicycle sharing program due to theft, vandalism, and increased costs.

Streetsblog has done some research of their own and discovered that the threat may not be so great as the BBC article makes it seem.

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Ben Fried writes:

So is Vélib destined to burn brightly only to flare out after a short time? Hardly. Vélib is here to stay, according to officials and transportation experts familiar with the details of its operations. The BBC’s portrayal of a mortal threat, they say, is best understood as a negotiating ploy on the part of JCDecaux. (Note that the JCDecaux representative is the only source quoted in that story.)

Fried interviews Eric Britton, a Paris-based transportation advocate and blogger who has closely followed the development of Vélib. Britton says that the program is still hugely popular, far from losing public support, and that the amount of loss sustained through theft and vandalism is “like skinning your knee.”