Equal distribution of bikes is one of the hardest nuts to crack with bike-sharing, especially if your program has 20,600 bikes. The creative minds of Vélib' have developed a formidable solution to this problem - take a bus!
Starting May 4, the first of two Vélib' buses began transporting bikes from stations with an over-supply to those in need. The buses hold 62 bikes each, which is nearly three times more than the trucks which are used now for smaller stations. Staff simply walk the bikes onto the bus and with the use of a pulley system, raise one bike at a time, and send it to the other end of the bus via a roller system to keep the bikes compact during transport.
Here's a video showing how it works:
Another reminder that bike-sharing complements other forms of transit and is complemented.
Image credit: Vélib'
Paul DeMaio, MetroBike
Russell Meddin, www.bikesharephiladelphia.org