We are in Paris right now and having great trouble with the new velib bikes. We used them last spring with no trouble but they have changed since then. Locals tell us the navigo passes will no longer work and to quote them " the new bikes are sh*t!!" and the Velib site has two conflicting messages, one says they will work, one says they won't Well, they don't, the website makes it look like we must buy a card online but sounds like they are going to mail it to us which obviously is not helpful. does anyone know what is the fastest way to get a velib card?
Ok folks, I usually don't reply to my own post but we just left the tourism office in Paris. Bottom line, they told us they are having many many problems with the new velib bikes and you must get a card to be able to use them so in all honesty they suggested we avoid them entirely for now.
Perhaps this title says it all...
"PARIS—The French capital has fallen from grace as a bike-sharing paradise that inspired cities around the world to launch programs of their own.
Over the past six months, a project to upgrade Paris’s sprawling bike network has rendered it largely unusable. Gashes have appeared along the city’s sidewalks where docking stations have been uprooted. Seemingly serviceable bikes can’t be ridden because of electrical problems with newly installed stations. Overall the system, known as Velib’, is operating at a fraction of its former capacity.
The mess, dubbed an “industrial catastrophe” by French media, is casting a cloud over the city’s political leadership and dragging down the popularity of Anne Hidalgo, the Socialist mayor of Paris. Elected officials are learning a new lesson in big-city politics: Keep the local bike-sharing network up and rolling, or suffer the consequences.
“Hidalgo could pay dearly for this,” said Eric Azière, a Paris city councilor from a centrist party. “It has undermined her reputation for competence.”
Velib’ customers have been sharing stories of nonfunctioning bikes with the hashtag #Velibgate. **On Saturday, one Twitter user posted a picture of a long row of Velib' bikes in their docking station, writing: “Not one works.”
Sounds pretty relevant to me.
The Velib problem may cost the mayor her job according to many surveys. This, like the issue of legal rentals is a big problem to the unsuspecting so I suggest this post be left as a warning.
Thanks for adding the article to your above previous post. Parisians who used these bikes heavily are up in arms about this. Six months is a pretty long time for this Snafu.
For what it's worth, I've never seen a brand new bike sharing rollout go smoothly anywhere...there are always major glitches to be worked out.
Three years ago our son and his family used velib bikes most of the days they were in Paris, they'd even loaded the app with paying ability on their phones. Last week when we were in Paris I started to notice there were very few bikes in the racks, at most just one or two. I mistakenly thought they were so popular that they were always out being used. Wrong. After having dinner with our friend who lives in Paris on Tuesday night she pointed to one of the nearly empty racks near our Metro entrance and asked if we'd heard about the velib controversy. Then she gave us her take on it.
She said that the city had turned the popular system over to a private company and things immediately started going wrong. She said most of the bikes are broken or stolen and very few remain. Her hope was that the city would take it over again and manage it better.
My DIL and granddaughters are so disappointed to hear this because they'll be in Paris in two weeks and can't count on there being any working bikes available.
Too bad, I used Velib last year. They were a little confusing at first but only the occasional flat tire put them out of commission.
The company has had to refund subscribers' subscription fees for -- so far -- the first quarter of the year -- serious losses due to a terrible decision by city hall to award the contract to a new company rather than re-awarding it to the one that launched Vélib and held the contract for the first 10 years of the service. It's a true mess, and, as 75020 mentioned, may have serious implications for Hidalgo's political future. Her opponents are framing it as one of many bad decisions under her leadership.
As true lovers of Paris and yearly visitors we are completely sympathetic with the locals about this disaster the loss of these bikes is both a daily problem for many who live here as well as a sad loss for those of us with fond memories of biking around Paris on vacation we return in The Fall and are hoping it may be better when we come again. Thanks to all who replied with enlightenment. Bonne journee!