Today, an entirely new integrated transit system with a new bike-sharing service started in Bordeaux, France. With 1,545 bikes and 139 stations, the new bike-share system is called V³ or Vcub(e) which means Vélos de la Communauté Urbaine de Bordeaux (bikes of the Urban Community of Bordeaux).
What sets this new system apart from other 3rd generation bike-sharing services (3rd generation bike-sharing blog post) is that its design and implementation are integral parts of a new transit system for Bordeaux and its environs. Nine out of every 10 stations are at a transit stop. In the city the stations are close together, no more than 300 meters apart. Outside the city there are 40 stations (see the map). There is a new single Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) Bordeaux transit card that's valid throughout the region. It also allows holders of the transit card to use the bikes at a substantially discounted subscription rate.
Thirty-one bike stations are along transit lines out of the city. At these “V³+” stations, a percentage of the bikes are set aside for registered commuters to keep overnight and bring back the next morning at no extra charge. These transit integrations will be a hallmark of new 4th generation bike-sharing, along with the possibility of advance reservations, RFID integrations with mobile phones allow greater payment capabilities and compatibility across multiple bike-sharing systems.
V³ at Tram Station
In setting up V³, Bordeaux worked with the transportation company, Keolis. Interestingly, the service’s deployment was held back five months so that the new bus and trams lines would be ready for the bike-share stations! Because the system is run by a transportation company, it is not connected any to city advertising contract, and as reported by Sudouest.Com, the cost to the Communauté was 1,100€ ($1,500 US) per bike.
The bike-share only subscriptions are available at 80 stations by credit card for the 1€ ($1.35 US) daily and 5€ ($6.80 US)weekly. The V³ RFID card offers 7€ ($9.50 US)monthly and 25€ ($34 US) annual subscriptions and is available on-line or at any transit system agent. These price levels are in line for creating a large subscriber base. As with most systems, V³ does not charge for the first 30 minutes of usage. However, the next hour and each additional hour is either 2€ or 1€ according to the type of subscription. The hope is that the new integrated system will reduce single occupancy automobile usage, reduce long commuting times, and reduce the waiting time in the evening for opening one of the wine bottles for which this region of France is famous.
Update February 23, 2010: As of Monday evening the V³ had been used 1755 times. according to 20minutes.fr