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Velib: the best way to enjoy the city on two wheels

March 23, 2011

Need to get around the city? Why don’t you do like most people in Paris, from tourists to businessmen, and hop on a Velib.

Launched in July 2007 to make the city more ecologically friendly and to reduce traffic, the bicycle rental scheme which gets its name from two words, vélo (bicycle) and libre (free), has been a resounding success. In just three years, the number of bicycles has grown from 10,000 to 20,000 and the number of automated rental stations with at least fifteen bikes/spaces from 750 to 1,639 (Both those numbers should double by the end of this year). You can now find a station every 300 meters throughout the city center, making Vélib’ the largest system of its kind in the world. People can just pick up a bike at one place and turn it in at another.

To use the bikes, it is very simple, convenient and cheap: riders must be at least 14 years old, pay about $7 for a weekly pass and leave a credit card deposit of $150 in case the bike is not returned. The first half-hour is free, with a charge of about $1.50 for each 30 minutes thereafter.

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