Paris to ped­dle large e-bike fleet

Business Day - - FRONT PAGE - Geert De Clercq Paris

The Paris re­gion plans to launch a large fleet of elec­tric bi­cy­cles in a state­funded scheme aimed at get­ting com­muters to cy­cle to work.

The Paris re­gion plans to launch a large fleet of elec­tric bi­cyles in a state-funded scheme aimed at get­ting com­muters to cy­cle to work and re­duc­ing con­ges­tion and pol­lu­tion.

From Septem­ber 2019, re­gional trans­port agency Ilede-France Mo­bil­ités will pro­vide 10,000 e-bikes for long-term rental, with a view to ex­pand­ing the scheme to 20,000, to make it the world’s largest e-bike rental pro­gramme.

The aim of the “Veligo” ser­vice is to en­cour­age bi­cy­cle com­mut­ing, which ac­counts for only 1.6% of daily trips in the Ilede-France area.

Veligo will be run by a joint ven­ture in­clud­ing the postal ser­vice and trans­port firm Trans­dev un­der a six-year con­tract. It will have a bud­get of up to €111m. It will com­ple­ment Paris’ Velib scheme, which was a model for bike-shar­ing world­wide but strug­gled since a new op­er­a­tor took over in 2018. Only half the promised 20,000 new Velibs are in op­er­a­tion.

Un­like Velib bikes, which are rented on an hourly ba­sis and must be docked in road­side sta­tions af­ter use, Veligo bi­cy­cles will stay with users, who can rent them for €40 a month, half of which can be sub­sidised by their em­ploy­ers.

While Velib mainly serves the 2-mil­lion res­i­dents of cen­tral Paris, Veligo is aimed at the cap­i­tal’s wider re­gion, home to 10mil­lion peo­ple and a third of na­tional out­put.

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