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Vélib Bicycle Sharing Scheme Losing 100 Bikes a Week

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.



This is terrible! The total number of bikes that have either been stolen or vandalized is 18,800, out of 20,000, a pretty sad percentage. What is different about Paris compared to other cities, including Lyon, France, where this has worked? This really surprises me. I don't understand why bike sharing would work in Lyon and not Paris.


This was originally based on this BBC story:

But it's possibly not quite what it seems:


If you make things free - people will treat them as if they're worthless. People suck. If you don't own it then there is no incentive to take care.

A non-cash deposit or IDcard trade-off scheme or advanced RFID tracking system or monitored drop-off/pick-up zone may make users (or others) think twice about discarding/defacing the bikes. Definitely a cash-loser/pit in any case.

This is more evidence that there really is not enough good people in the world to make any honour-borrow-use-return system work.


Works in Lyon, not in Paris. Not surprising.
All those riots recent years were in suburbs around Paris, most likely it's those people (mostly young unemployed and poor) who steel and vandalize them.
Systems like that cannot work anywhere.
There is no single successful implementation of such a system in an African country where those rioting immigrants to France came from.



Get rid of all the people to save the planet. Make questioning climate change a hate crime. That will solve all our problems.


The concerns voiced in posts are revealing. Give-away programs don't work in high density cities with high crime rates - is this unexpected?

Make the user responsible by investment either through lease or deposit or ID - voila! Radically reduced vandalism (and "sharing" perhaps.)

"This is more evidence that there really is not enough good people in the world to make any honour-borrow-use-return system work."

Give-away programs without requiring responsibility will not work in high stress/crime areas. Ownership, a form of material responsibility - does work. Nothing to do with "good" people Jer. Has to do with exercising the good within them.

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