Paris: Velib’ customers to be reimbursed as wheels come off bike-sharing scheme

Paris: Velib' customers to be reimbursed as wheels come off bike-sharing scheme
The Velib' cycle sharing scheme in Paris has broken down and customers will be reimbursed, city councillors confirmed.

The French capital's once proud bike sharing scheme Velib' has been hit by strikes and docking station closures which has left users pulling their hair out in recent weeks.

Acknowledging that the scheme is barely functioning at the moment, councillors at City Hall voted on Tuesday to reimburse the 300,000 long-term subscribers.

The breakdown in the system is mainly due to the fact that Smoovengo are taking over the running of Velib' in January from JCDecaux. That means a whole fleet of new bikes and docking stations will be rolled out.

Around half of the 1,200 docking stations are closed as upgrades are made, which makes finding or dropping off a bike increasingly impossible.

Velib' workers have also held strikes to try to ensure their jobs are maintained after the changeover.

It is not clear how much subscribers will be reimbursed.

The mess that Velib' is in is no doubt good news for two new bike rental schemes that have hit the city's streets in recent weeks.

Gobee bike and Obike, which can be picked up and dropped off anywhere in Paris and work using a smartphone app, have been rolled out in recent weeks to challenge Velib'.

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