Velib': Paris's Public Bike Sharing System

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Case Details:

Case Code : OPER090
Case Length : 19 Pages
Period : 2007-2009
Organization : JCDecaux / City of Paris
Pub Date : 2009
Teaching Note :Not Available
Countries : Paris, France
Industry : Media / Public sector

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This case study was compiled from published sources, and is intended to be used as a basis for class discussion. It is not intended to illustrate either effective or ineffective handling of a management situation. Nor is it a primary information source.

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"Just as Le Corbusier's white cruciform towers once excited visions of the industrial-age city of the future, so Vélib', Paris's bicycle rental system, inspired a new urban ethos for the era of climate change […] But this latest French utopia has met a prosaic reality: Many of the specially designed bikes, which, when the system's startup and maintenance expenses are included, cost $3,500 each, are showing up on black markets in Eastern Europe and northern Africa. Many others are being spirited away for urban joy rides, then ditched by roadsides, their wheels bent and tires stripped." 1

- New York Times2, in October 2009.


On July 15, 2009, Vélib', the Paris-based public bike rental system, celebrated its second year of operations.

Vélib', started as a public bike sharing program for Paris in July 2007 by the world's leading outdoor advertising agency, The JCDecaux Group3 (JCDecaux), aimed to improve the transportation system in the city.

By July 2009, Vélib' had grown to become the largest bike sharing program in the world with 24,000 bikes and 1,800 stations.4 Vélib' was the brain child of the then mayor of Paris, Bertrand Delanoe (Delanoe).

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Operations Management Case Studies | Case Study in Management, Operations, Strategies, Marketing Management, Case Studies

1] Steven Erlanger and Maïa De La Baume, "French Ideal of Bicycle-Sharing Meets Reality,", October 30, 2009.
2] Founded in 1851, the New York Times is a daily newspaper published in New York.
3] The JCDecaux Group was founded by Jean-Claude Decaux (Decaux) in 1964. Decaux formulated the concept of funding public services through advertising revenues. The company's first project was to install bus shelters for the city of Lyon, France. In 2002, it installed its first self-service public bike sharing system for the city of Vienna in Austria followed by Cordoba and Gijon in Spain. For the year 2007, the group's revenues stood at € 2,106.6 million.
4] "Vélib' Rides into Two Years in the Bike-sharing World,", July 15, 2009.

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