Vélib’ 2022

In September 2022, I logged into my Vélib’ account with the intention of buying my usual 7-day pass, only to discover that the 7-day pass had been replaced by a 3-day pass for the same price, € 15 at that time, now € 20. The elimination of the 7-day pass had apparently happened earlier, but because of the pandemic I didn’t notice it until 2022.

The price increase, however, is not actually as crass as it first appears. The 3-day pass includes unlimited rides on the mechanical bikes, with no extra charge for the first 60 minutes of each ride (instead of 30). The pass also includes six rides of up to 45 minutes on the electrically-assisted bikes (instead of paying € 1 extra from the beginning of each ride).

The green bikes are the mechanical ones, and the blue bikes are electrically-assisted. Both kinds now seem to be available in adequate numbers, with the blue ones now approaching the goal of 30 %.

Vélib’ station 9037, at Chez Papa on rue de Parme

Despite the rise in prices, my (subjective) impression in 2022 was that Vélib’ is again going strong, with lots of coming and going, lots of people checking bikes in and out.

Since the dreadful year of 2018, when the botched changeover from one company to another meant that Vélib’ practically ceased to exist for over half a year — and since the catastrophic year of 2020, when bicycle use fluctuated wildly depending on whether there was a transit strike or a corona lockdown in progress — Vélib’ seems to have made a good recovery. I always found a bike when I needed one, and always found a docking point when I wanted to return it.

Cycling on one of the new bike lanes, Pont au Change

The proliferation of new bicycle lanes has certainly made cycling in Paris safer and more attractive, and has led to a huge increase in bicycle use — not only Vélib’, of course, but also people using their own bikes. I was particularly impressed by the masses of people commuting by bicycle in the morning and evening rush hours, something Paris has not been noted for up to now.

My photos and text in this post are from 2022.

See more posts on the Vélib’ bike sharing system in Paris.

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