Thursday, July 26, 2007

Houston, we have a problem...

There are two noteworthy articles in Budget Travel Online. The first, titled "Those free bikes in Europe, you can't use 'em", is about JCDecaux's programs in Paris and Lyon. As the bike-sharing kiosks only accept credit and debit cards with specific chips in them, tourists from North America have not been able to use the bikes. I experienced this in Lyon when I visited, however, the chief of Velo'v was kind enough to buy me a card to test the system as my American Express card with a chip didn't work.

I don't believe this was done intentionally to block out N. American tourists, but rather an oversight. Having both smartcard targets AND credit card swipes on each kiosk raises the cost of the kiosk. Bicing in Barcelona does have both, however, the the swipe is presently disabled so only residents can use the system. I believe the powers that be didn't want the system overwhelmed by tourists above the overwhelming response it was receiving from residents.

I hope JCDecaux can retify this problem quickly as it's North Americans more than Europeans who need to see how great bike-sharing programs are and spread their growth to our shores. Europeans are already sold on the concept as proven by the many programs in existence and in planning stages.

The second article, titled "Rent a Bike in Europe for Nearly Nothing", discusses the cities with tourist-friendly bike-sharing programs and the costs of each.

image credit: Mairie de Paris

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

I did have a chip on my card; and I and my family bought several day rentals. Velib requires a deposit of 150 euros for each day card. The problem that this deposit is not released when the bike is returned. The system now has held 900 eros from our cards for many days, that is more than $1000! If I had nor been a man of property
:-)
this might have wrecked our whole vacation...

Rolf from Sweden

Paul DeMaio said...

After how many days will the deposit be refunded? Have others had problems with this too?

Anonymous said...

The first amount is to be released tomorrow my bank says. After 10 days.

My wife has the same problem - and with another bank!

Rolf

valugi said...

Bicing from Barcelona doesn't work as well as promoted. Read a complete story here, from a 3 months service user.

http://valugi.ro/en/article/BicingisDeflating

RAJWINDER said...

I am still waiting for my deposit back(about 1500 dollars) three weeks after returning from paris.

Anonymous said...

I have the same problem...straight from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and after 2 months, still missing 900 Euros from the "great" Velib service.
They say the problem is with the bank, The bank says it never gt the wire transfer, and I´m stuck in the middle of this mess... Velib never more !

knightwolf.jhon@gmail.com said...

I guess we are looking at improvising things rather than looking at who has done this first. Good that karnataka gov has taken such measures in the line of improvement. We appreciate it.
Does anyone know where I can find deep technical information about smart cards?. I'm doing a report for the company I'm working for.
smart card

Caitiwalter said...

What was the outcome of these events? Did anyone ever get their money back and after how long?