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cigalechanta Oct 13th, 2007 05:28 PM

Paris: Finding Liberté on two wheels
Ny Times:

Robespierre Oct 13th, 2007 05:39 PM

I wonder if the system prints out a receipt when you return a bike. If not - I wonder what recourse a user has if the system loses track of the fact that it got its property back.

kerouac Oct 13th, 2007 09:13 PM

1. Yes, anybody who wants a paper receipt can get one, but you can also just consult the screen that tells you 'you have returned your bike'. Most people just wait for the light to go from amber to green on the docking post with the characteristic double beep.
2. There is a phone service from 08:00 to 22:00 for 'problems' -- like when the screen told me that I was being debited 231.00€ for having kept a bike for more than 2 days (a bike that I had returned after 5 minutes of use). I called the number and was not debited. There were quite a few billing problems in the first month due to computer glitches, but I have not heard anybody talking about any problems lately.

cindyjo Oct 14th, 2007 09:26 AM

wondering if there is any more recent info than what was sited in nytimes article this morning. is it impossible to rent a velib bike without an american express? have gone to the site but can't decipher. thank you.

kerouac Oct 14th, 2007 10:07 AM

The stations take Visa or Mastercard (not American Express!) but only if they are 'chip' cards (smart cards), which the majority of Europeans now have.

Travelnut Oct 14th, 2007 12:02 PM

Just wondering - does the system accept the Navigo Decouverte pass as a means of payment?

kerouac Oct 14th, 2007 08:35 PM

Navigo cards are only accepted for yearly subscriptions to Vélib.

BKP Oct 15th, 2007 03:26 AM

My sister and I are traveling to Paris in November and this looks like fun. I have a chip and pin card but she doesn't. If I use my card for my bike and hers -- will I be charged 300 euros as a deposit for both bikes? Is it more of a hold? Or is it an actual charge with a credit back to the account when the bike is returned? Is the credit as fast as the original deposit? Lastly - has anyone actually rode a velib bike? It looks like a sort of dangerous fun . . .

stokebailey Oct 15th, 2007 04:07 PM

kerouac, can you detect any difference in the traffic density now? Are bikers visibly increased?

kerouac Oct 15th, 2007 09:10 PM

1. Yes, you can put all of the bike guarantees on one card if the credit limit can handle it. You are not debited this amount -- it is like the guarantee for a rental car.

2. I would say that bike traffic has about tripled since Vélib began. Many many private bicycles that weren't on the streets before have also been brought out of the cellar.

stokebailey Oct 16th, 2007 06:39 AM

Making it safer for all the cyclists. I can't wait to get back and jump in.

PalenQ Oct 16th, 2007 06:48 AM

<The stations take Visa or Mastercard (not American Express!) but only if they are 'chip' cards (smart cards), which the majority of Europeans now have.>

Jack - does this mean that Americans or others without chip cards cannot rent bikes on the spot? How would i go about paying for the bike?


Travelnut Oct 16th, 2007 08:14 AM

It was commented on other threads that the bike system was not intended for tourists to use as a 'rental'. There are plenty of bike rental agencies for that purpose.

kerouac Oct 16th, 2007 09:13 AM

Tourists are absolutely welcome to use Vélib, and lots of them do. I see it every day. The bike stations speak 4 languages already (German, English, Italian, Spanish) with 10 languages planned, including Arabic, Russian, Japanese and Chinese. I would say that that is proof enough that the system is also aimed at tourists.

Too bad about Americans and their antiquated cards, though.

By next summer, there will be some system to allow the underdeveloped countries to get on a Vélib, even Americans. ;)

PalenQ Oct 16th, 2007 09:20 AM

so jack you confirm that as of now Americans can not participate in the Velib' bike scheme. Tant pis!

josephina Oct 16th, 2007 09:29 AM

Nope. My new MasterCard has a chip. I am thrilled.

Christina Oct 16th, 2007 10:15 AM

I don't think something being in foreign languages is proof something is aimed at tourists. Aren't you always touting how muti-ethnic Paris is? We have lots of things in foreign languages where I live that aren't aimed at tourists at all, it is because we have a lot of immigrant residents.

However, I made that comment about tourists in a prior thread, and since then I have read something of the background of this initiative and found out that it is being funded by a private company, I believe. I assumed it was subsidized by the government. So, that company must be doing it to make money and, in that case, I would say anything goes if the govt. isn't subsidizing it.

Where I live, that isn't always the whole story when a private company funds something, though, as sometimes the govt. helps that company out in some ways and the taxpayers get stuck with the bill. Sports stadiums, for example. So, I don't know if the velib thing was really aimed at tourists, as they are not usually contributing a lot to traffic congestion and pollution, but I guess no one minds if they use them as long as it is cost-effective for the sponsor. I think part of it was just sort of a PR thing, like Paris Plage, to make Paris seem fun and cool.

PalenQ Oct 16th, 2007 10:22 AM

<Both Lyon and Paris programs are sponsored by JCDecaux, the outdoor advertising company - JCD provides the cycles, lock up stations and maintenance for Velib' in exchange for rights to 1,628 billboards around Paris.>

says News from France newsletter from French Embassy in U.S.

kerouac Oct 16th, 2007 11:09 AM

Christina, Paris is indeed multiethnic, but as anybody knows, Paris and London have a totally different agenda regarding immigrants. London (UK) makes a point of allowing immigrant communities to keep their traditions. Paris (France) makes a point of turning all immigrants into French people as soon as possible -- which is why the anti-veil law was voted for schools and a very recent law demands that everybody learn to speak French as quickly as possible.

JD Decaux actually had to reduce the number of advertising spaces that it had in Paris in order to obtain the bike contract. The 'trick' is that they replaced their static advertising signs with new 'rolling' signs with 4 different ads.

JC Decaux is responsible for maintaining all of the 20,700 bikes and the 1100 stations yet must turn over all of the revenue for bike rentals to the city of Paris.

Advertising must really bring in a lot of money!

PalenQ Oct 16th, 2007 11:32 AM

Ironic that the Moslem immigrant community in London produces so many homegrown terrorists - second generation thorough English speaking while France seems to have little of this, as of yet.

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