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Expansion plans for Velib' scheme

On the anniversary of the free bike hire project, the Mayor of Paris announces he wants to do the same with cars.

The Velib’ scheme which allows people to pick up a bike, travel and deposit it at their destination could be extended to cars, claims the Mayor of Paris.

On the anniversary of the scheme, which has seen 25 million individual rides in the last year, Paris mayor Bertrand Delanoë announced plans to set up a similar system with cars.

By 2010 the city council hopes to set up 700 hire stations, 200 of them underground in Paris and its surrounding communes with 4,000 cars ready to use.

While the total cost of the scheme is unknown, the city authority said each station would cost between €50,000-€70,000.

Mayor’s assistant Annick Lepetit, who is in responsible for public transport, said: “This is a new project, it’s part of an adventure.”

She added that the cost of hiring would be set low enough to make the scheme attractive but not to put it level with public transport.

Similar car hire schemes already exist in Paris. Hire companies allow you to pick up vehicles on the street, but unlike the Velib’ scheme, they must be returned to the same spot.

Green counselor Yves Contassot said: “The problems will be the same as with the Velib’ – everyone goes in the same direction. There will be stations full and stations empty, except these are cars.”

He said the situation would not be as easy to resolve as with bikes and added: “I have bad visions of a trailer with 30 cars on it.”

Earlier this week the city council announced that the Velib’ scheme will be extended to the suburbs by the end of the year.

The Velib’ scheme has more than 20,000 bikes parked at 1,451 stations around Paris.

Every day Parisians make an average of 120,000 Vélib’ trips.


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