You better Velib’ it: Cost of renting Paris city bikes could jump in future

Using Velib' bikes in Paris is likely to become more pricey in future, according to reports, as the cycle rental scheme's new provider looks to cover the crippling cost of vandalism.

You better Velib' it: Cost of renting Paris city bikes could jump in future
Photo: AFP

Using Velib' bikes is likely to become more expensive by January 2018, when the service's former provider JCDecaux is set to be replaced by Montpellier-based bike-sharing giant Smoove.

Yearly subscriptions could rise by as much 35 percent, Le Parisien announced, which may put users off or persuade them to just to get their own bike.

Annual subscription fees could rise from €29 to €39 (the first 30 minutes remaining free), while premium subscriptions are likely to jump from €39 to €45 or €49 (with the first 45 minutes free).

For short term passes prices also look set to rise. While the first half an hour currently costs €1, Le Parisien claims that in future it will only be the first 15 minutes that cost €1.

It's not clear either whether the discounted prices for young people will stay in place.

Vélo Assistance Electrique (VAE) subscriptions for the scheme's electric bikes might rise by up to €99 per year.

New technologies and electric devices, as well as a new economic model, are given as the reasons for the price hikes.

A report  indicated that the JCDecaux's management costed Paris City Hall €16 million per year, due to the cost of vandalism and of rolling out new Velib' stations in the suburbs of Paris.

But Smoove will invest in stations and new bikes and in return will want to make it economically viable via a hike in prices. They will gamble on users remaining loyal.

JCDecaux announced that it had filed a legal action to protect the 315 employees working at Cyclocity, the company managing the Velib' network.

For its part the Paris City Hall played down the figures quoted by Le Parisien and said any price hikes would have to be voted through in September.

READ ALSO: Au revoir Velibs – Paris to get new fleet of modern city bikes

Au revoir Velibs: Paris to get new fleet of modern city bikes

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Revealed: The fastest way to get across Paris

Car, moped, public transport, or electric bicycle - which means of transport is the quickest way to get across Paris?

Revealed: The fastest way to get across Paris

One intrepid reporter for French daily Le Parisien decided to find out. 

The challenge was simple. Which mode of transport would get the journalist from the heart of Fontenay-sous-Bois in the eastern suburbs to the newspaper’s office on Boulevard de Grenelle, west Paris, fastest?

Over four separate journeys, each one in the middle of rush hour, the electric bicycle was quickest and easiest. More expensive than conventional bikes, electric bikes do come with a government subsidy.

The journey was described as ‘pleasant and touristy’ on a dry but chilly morning going via dedicated cycle lanes that meant the dogged journalist avoided having to weave in and out of traffic.

It took, in total, 47 minutes from start to finish at an average speed of 19km/h, on a trip described as “comfortable” but with a caveat for bad weather. The cost was a few centimes for charging up the bike.

In comparison, a car journey between the same points took 1 hour 27 minutes – a journey not helped by a broken-down vehicle. Even accounting for that, according to the reporter’s traffic app, the journey should – going via part of the capital’s southern ringroad – have taken about 1 hr 12.

Average speed in the car was 15km/h, and it cost about €2.85 in diesel – plus parking.

A “chaotic and stressful” moped trip took 1 hour 3 minutes, and cost €1.30 in unleaded petrol.

Public transport – the RER and Metro combined via RER A to Charles-de-Gaulle-Étoile then Metro line 6 to the station Bir-Hakeim – took 50 minutes door to door, including a 10-minute walk and cost €2.80. The journey was described as “tiring”.

READ ALSO 6 ways to get around Paris without the Metro