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


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!


Unknown said...

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

Unknown 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 ! 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?

Unknown said...


This was our first time in Paris, we are very sad and disappointed with this situation.

Me and my wife used the Vèlib service while in Paris. I decided to use my credit card and had no problem at all, so let's keep that aside.

She used her debit card, and as we expected, a 150€ deposit was issued from her bank account. Since she purchased the 1,70€ 1 day ticket three times (three different days), they took three 150€ deposits in a total of 450€ that should be refunded 10 to 15 days after the tickets expired. But she received no refund at all.

The dates of the tickets purchased were 11 november 2015, 12 november 2015 and 13 november 2015.

So as you can see, we patiently waited to receive the deserved refund but no refund was made.

So I decided to e-mail them bacause calling would cost a lot, but finding no e-mail like a support on their website, ended writing them through Facebook. A staff called Gisèle aswered asking the tickets number, and after having them told me I was right and they had no reason to keep the money. She then generated a PDF file with some information telling me that I should go to a bank and show them to receive my money back. She even said this "works everywhere in the world".

Well, of course that's not true and we couldn't receive anything. No bank can do anything with that useless piece of paper. First of all, a refund or a payment should be addressed to my wife's bank account where the deposits came from. And then maybe we needed a document telling the reason for that money so our government don't apply taxes over it.

After being told that paper does nothing, they simply stopped answering and kept our 450€.

So please be aware that the Vèlib service can't be really trusted and they may scam you if you use debit card. I need to share this because I don't want them to make this to other people. Be aware.

Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by the author.