According to a report by the Environmental Transport Association, a spate of vandalism and theft has forced the sponsor of the Vélib cycle scheme (earlier post) in Paris to ask for help towards the cost of replacing damaged bicycles.
Of the 20,000 bicycles that were introduced to the city’s streets in July 2007, 7,800 have vanished—a rate of over 100 bikes each week. An additional 11,000 have been vandalised. The scheme’s sponsor, JCDecaux has now convinced the city to pay for a proportion of the replacement bikes.
Vélib, the term is a contraction of the French words for bicycle and freedom, remains popular with the city’s inhabitants and tourists—in its first year of operation it made over £10 million.