Can you Velib’ it: New rival bike-sharing scheme hits Paris streets

There's a new bike-sharing scheme in Paris that could be set to give the city's famed Velib' bikes a run for their money.

Can you Velib' it: New rival bike-sharing scheme hits Paris streets
Photo: – introduced to Paris on Monday – is the latest bike-sharing scheme to hit the streets of the French capital. 
Initially launched in the northern French city of Lille on Thursday, the bright green bikes have made their debut on the streets of the capital and its western suburbs. 
With a fleet of several hundred bikes which can be picked up and dropped off anywhere in the city, perhaps the most important factor for those who rely on renting bikes to get around the city will be that doesn't use docking stations. 

Paris: Here's how the Velib' bike share is set to change

This means that unlike the Velib' system, the new scheme gets rid of the common problem of bike stations in Montmartre, Montparnasse and Buttes Chaumont remaining empty for long periods of time as users use them to cycle downhill but rarely use them to slog up the capital's hills. 
With, the bikes can be located on an app and unlocked with a scannable QR code, unique to each of them. 
The catch is that the cost of hiring one of the new bikes is 50 centimes for half an hour, while with the Velib’ the first 30 minutes is free (although there have been hints that this could soon change).  
But the founder of claims he doesn't see the conflict. 
“We think that the two systems are complementary,” Raphaël Cohen, founder and CEO of told Le Parisien. “Yes our service is more expensive but what we’re offering is more practical – you don’t have to worry about finding a bike in your nearest docking station or about finding somewhere to put it when you’ve finished using it.”
The businessman, who has already tested out the system in Hong Kong where he currently lives, also pointed out that the introduction of was done entirely at the company’s own expense. 
“It doesn’t cost communities anything” because there’s no need to build a station, he said. 
The famed Velib' bike-sharing scheme will move from JCDecaux to the Smoovengo consortium led by Montpellier-based bike-sharing company Smoove, which will roll out new bikes.


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”.

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