I love electric bikes. They’re a great, low-carbon transportation option that requires much less work than traditional pedal bikes. So it’s exciting news that the Paris region is rolling out a massive fleet of them as a way to beat back traffic and air pollution.
Starting September 2019, the Ile-de-France Mobilités—the Paris-area public transport network—will offer 10,000 electric bikes for long-term rental, according to Reuters. The plan is to expand the so-called “Véligo” service to 20,000 units, making it the world’s largest e-bike rental program.
The larger aim is to encourage bike-riding in the wider Parisian region that’s home to 10 million people. Currently, commuter cycling counts for a mere 1.6 percent of daily trips in the area.
“Electric bicycles have an enormous potential. They are an efficient and ecological way to get to the railway station for short commutes that can replace the car,” Valerie Pecresse, the head of the Ile-de-France region, told Reuters.
The Véligo program works differently than typical bike-share programs where you rent a bike for a few hours and return it to a docking station after use. Instead, Véligo bikes can stay with the users for 40 euros ($45) a month, half of which can be subsidized by their employers, Reuters reported.
The new scheme is an addition to the city of Paris’ own Vélib’ bike-sharing system, which had been a “huge success and a point of pride” for the French capital until it changed operators and nearly collapsed, NPR reported last month. Daily use dramatically fell from 100,000 trips a day to only a couple thousand.
The Véligo program will be operated by the postal service and transport firm Transdev under a six-year contract and have a budget of 111 million euros ($127 million), according to Reuters.
— EcoWatch (@EcoWatch) January 29, 2017