Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Pedaling A Good Idea

[Posted by reader_iam]

Paris has launched a communal bike program to encourage more use of bicycles for transportation for reasonable per-use or subscription fee without the hassle of storage and maintenance in an urban environment. And rather than this being a government paid-for program, it's a private-public cooperative effort which is expected to generate revenue for the city.
“This is about revolutionizing urban culture,” said Pierre Aidenbaum, mayor of Paris’s trendy third district, which opened 15 docking stations on Sunday. “For a long time cars were associated with freedom of movement and flexibility. What we want to show people is that in many ways bicycles fulfill this role much more today.”

Users can rent a bike online or at any of the stations, using a credit or debit card and leave them at any other station.

A one-day pass costs 1 euro ($1.38), a weekly pass 5 euros ($6.90) and a yearly subscription 29 euros ($40), with no additional charges as long as each bike ride does not exceed 30 minutes. (Beyond that, there is an incremental surcharge, to make sure that as many bikes as possible stay in the rotation.)

The outdoor advertising company J. C. Decaux is paying for the bicycles, docking stations and maintenance in return for exclusive use of 1,628 urban billboards owned by the city. The city receives the rental income, and city officials say they are hoping the program will bring in millions of euros.
I think this is an inspired idea, and one that I'd hope some urban areas in the U.S. would consider. Any nominations for a good first-adopter city here?

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