PARIS (Reuters) — The Paris area plans to launch a big fleet of electrical bicycles in a state-funded scheme geared toward getting commuters to cycle to work and lowering congestion and air pollution.

From September 2019, regional transport company Ile-de-France Mobilités (IDFM) will present as much as 10,000 e-bikes for long-term rental, with a view to increasing the scheme to 20,000, which might make it the world’s largest e-bike rental program.

The intention of the “Veligo” service is to encourage bicycle commuting, which in the intervening time accounts for only one.6% of day by day journeys within the Ile-de-France space.

Veligo can be run by a three way partnership together with the postal service and transport agency Transdev below a six-year contract. it’ll have a funds of up 111 million euros ($127 million).

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It should complement Paris’ Velib scheme, which has served as a mannequin for bike-sharing worldwide however which has struggled since a brand new operator took over this 12 months. Solely half the promised 20,000 new Velibs are at the moment in operation.

In contrast to Velib bikes, that are rented on an hourly foundation and should be docked in roadside stations after use, Veligo bikes will stick with customers, who can lease them for 40 euros a month, half of which might be sponsored by their employers.

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The initiative is a serious transfer for Valerie Pecresse, the conservative head of the Ile-de-France area, who usually clashes with Paris’s leftist mayor, Anne Hidalgo, over atmosphere and transport points.

“Electrical bicycles have an infinite potential. They’re an environment friendly and ecological strategy to get to the railway station for brief commutes that may exchange the automobile,” stated Pecresse.

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She stated Veligo would enable commuters to check out e-bikes and may persuade them to purchase their very own. A very good e-bike prices 1,500-2,000 euros. Round 250,000 had been bought in France final 12 months, in comparison with 2.7 million common bikes, IDFM stated.

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Whereas Velib primarily serves the 2 million residents of central Paris, Veligo is aimed on the capital’s wider area, dwelling to 10 million folks and a 3rd of nationwide output.

Velib already affords some e-bikes and in latest months a number of corporations, together with California’s Lime and Chook, have launched electrical scooters which have taken Paris by storm.

Reporting by Geert De Clercq; Modifying by Luke Baker

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