Friday, 19 October 2007

Parisians and Cycling - Post Script

The Velib system has been put to the test over the last 24 hours as Parisians endured the worst public transport strike since 1995. Neither the Metro, the trains nor the buses were in operation.

JC Decaux, the company that sponsors the community bike-share scheme took on extra staff to man the helplines as demand for bicycles reached capacity.
Some crafty commuters reserved their bicycles the night before the strike, and were willing to pay £45 for the convenience of it. Some tried the more unofficial reservation method - padlocking their chosen bike at the station. Most just set off extra early and braved the queues for a bike. For many this was their first outing on a bicycle for many years - but as long as there was a means of getting to work people were willing to try it. JC Decaux recorded 135,000 rentals of Velib yesterday - double the usual amount.

In the end people seemed to manage - even if it meant having to travel to a station further afield to find a bicycle, or to return a bicycle.
Given the culture of striking that you get in France we just have to hope that the employees who run Velib don't go on strike now !
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