Paris region to launch world’s biggest variety of electric bicycles

PARIS (Reuters) – The Paris region wants to launch a substantial fleet of electric bicycles within a state-funded scheme targeted at getting commuters to cycle to work and reducing congestion and pollution.

From September 2019, regional transport agency Ile-de-France Mobilits (IDFM) provides approximately 10,000 e-bikes for long-term rental, with a view to expanding the scheme to 20,000, which might cause it to the world’s largest e-bike rental program.

The goal of the “Veligo” service is to encourage bicycle commuting, which at the moment is in charge of only one.6 percent of daily trips while in the Ile-de-France area.

Veligo will probably be run using a partnership for example the postal service and transport firm Transdev beneath a six-year contract. it’s going to have a financial budget of up 111 million euros ($127 million).

It will complement Paris’ Velib scheme, that has served being a model for bike-sharing worldwide but who has struggled since a completely new operator took over this year. Only half the promised 20,000 new Velibs are currently in operation.

Unlike Velib bikes, that can be rented constant and must be docked in roadside stations after use, Veligo bikes will be with users, who is going to rent them for 40 euros a month, half of that may be subsidized by their employers.

The initiative is really a major move for Valerie Pecresse, the conservative head of the Ile-de-France region, who often clashes with Paris’s leftist mayor, Anne Hidalgo, over environment and transport issues.

“Electric bicycles provide an enormous potential. They may be an efficient and ecological method of getting on the railway station for short commutes which will replace the car,” said Pecresse.

She said Veligo will allow commuters to try out e-bikes and can convince them to buy their unique. An effective e-bike costs 1,500-2,000 euros. Around 250,000 were available in France in 2009, when compared with 2.7 million regular bikes, IDFM said.

While Velib mainly serves the two main million residents of central Paris, Veligo is aimed at the capital’s wider region, where you can Ten million people and also a third of national output.

Velib already offers some e-bikes plus recent months several firms, including California’s Lime and Bird, have launched electric scooters that have taken Paris by storm.

(Reporting by Geert De Clercq; Editing by Luke Baker)

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