Theft and vandalism continue to plague the Paris self-service bicycle hire scheme, Vélib ('la ville est plus belle a velo').
'The Curse of the Free Rider is everywhere' wrote Joost Beunderman on the 00 blog back in March, and in a comment I wondered if it's partly a problem of scale. The scheme in Lyon apparently has been less troublesome. (I also alluded to thefts from public libraries, which are not insignificant but not so high as to endanger the model of a public resource).
According to the Independent,
'vandalism and theft remain so rampant that Paris city authorities were obliged yesterday to come to the aid of the private company which runs the scheme. In less than two-and-a-half years, 8,000 bicycles have been stolen and 18,000 have been damaged beyond repair. In other words, each of the 21,000 Vélibs, which cost €610 (£550) each, have been replaced at least once.'
So the business model changes slightly, but hopefully the idea is not in danger. It would help if it could be demonstrated that the scheme had contributed to reduced pollution engine and influenced health.
Via Regen and Renewal.