Recently I heard about Velib, in Paris France, where users can rent a bicycle for an hour or more to get from place to place. Genius. The service does many things:
- Allows you not to worry about someone stealing your bicycle.
- Allows you to save gas money
- Don’t have to worry about parking your car
- Allows you to get some exercise
- Don’t have to walk everywhere
In order to rent a bike, users must have a subscription, which you can get by the day, month, or year, respectively costing 1, 5, or 29 euros. With the subscription, the first half hour of bike rental is free, and you can make an unlimited number of trips per day. If your bike rental is longer than 30 minutes, you will be charged an additional fee. Also, if you don’t return the bike, your credit card will be assessed 150 euro. Ouch.
The public program was launched July 15, 2007 in Paris, with 10,000 bikes and 750 points to park the bike. The program was financed by JCDecaux, with a cost of $115 million, and employs 285 people. The city receives all the revenue, as well as a fee of around $4.3 million a year, in exchange for exclusive control over all 1628 billboards.
There are plans to roll out this program throughout many other cities in Europe, including cities in Germany, Belgium, and Spain.
Wouldn’t it be great if someone did this in the US?