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The Paris public bike scheme, Vélib, is to be extended to the wider metropolitan area from 1 January 2018 and will see a new fleet of bikes introduced that are lighter, more robust and just under a third will have electric propulsion.
The changes to Vélib are the result of a 15-year contract that has recently been awarded to new service provider, Smoovengo, and which will take effect from the beginning of 2018. The new bikes will be 2.5kg lighter than the current bikes and they will also be connected, by means of an on-board unit, which will enable them to be tracked in real-time. An additional novelty is the ‘overflow’ system which will allow bikes to be dropped off at stations that are already full.
It is not clear at this stage whether the fares will be revised. However, the contracting authority (Syndicat Autolib’ et Vélib’ Métropole) guarantees that (i) the first 30 minutes of any trip will remain free and (ii) all existing subscriptions will remain at the same rate under the new system.
The transition phase will already start in the summer of this year, with the introduction of some new bikes. From October, the stations will be progressively replaced by the new system. Both the old and new system will co-exist until 30 December 2017. The installation of the Vélib’ stations in the wider metropolitan area is scheduled to be completed by March 2018.
While the new service provider, Smoovengo, has no obligation to take on existing Vélib’ staff, it has offered a commitment to give priority to these staff. The contracting authority will be monitoring this.
For further information (in French only), click here.