Paris and Barca bike schemes to expand

Barcelona's bike rental scheme is on a roll, with plans for fifteen times as many cycles as were available on day one.

Barcelona's bike rental scheme is on a roll, with plans for fifteen times as many cycles as were available on day one.
The start of the congestion-busting programme saw 200 two-wheelers for hire at 14 stations across the Spanish city in March.


Now, after two further expansions Barcelona should have no less than 3,000 bikes available to hire by the end of the year.
As with the recently launched Velib scheme in Paris, the Spanish project, labelled Bicing, is run in partnership with an advertising company.
In the French capital the Velib project has been welcomed with open arms, with more than half a million applications for passes since it launched mid-July. And Barcelona is pedalling hard to catch up. In the Spanish city, global firm Clear Channel Outdoor makes money through offering advertising space on the stations where the bikes are parked when not in use.
There are currently 1,500 bicycles spread out over 100 stations in Barcelona, with plans to double that figure by the end of the year.
Clear Channel spokesman Miguel Querol said: "The huge welcome given the public bicycle system surpassed all of our expectations."
Some 80,000 people have already signed up to use the bicycles, more than four times the 15,000 members expected.
The explosion in demand has led to complaints that not enough bikes are available at peak times, particularly around the city's port and its beaches.
There is also a lack of cycles left at stations in the higher points of the city, Residents there have been using the bikes to get into the centre but aren't so keen to sweat uphill all the way home.
Until recently it cost just six euros to join the scheme, but that has now been bumped up to 24 euros, in an attempt to discourage applications from people who won't use the bikes regularly.
The hike in price saw the number of new users joining the scheme each day drop from 1,000 to 100 - saving organisers a whole lot of paperwork.
Users can pick up a bike and ride free for the first half hour, with 30 euro cents for each further half hour.
However, unlike other schemes which use a sliding scale to increase hourly rates and discourage all-day use, the Barcelona scheme only permits people to take a bike for up to two hours at a time.
To discourage tourists from joining the scheme - which would put even more pressure on availability, organisers have ruled out the possibility of a weekly pass for now.
The city's authorities have said they will consider introducing more bike lanes if Bicing's popularity holds.
Paris' new Velib scheme saw 10,000 bicycles available for rent across the city.
There have already been 616,000 applications for passes.

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