Infrastructure issues for Vélib

A velib in a good state The NYT has an interesting article about the infrastructure problem with regards to the Velib in Paris. Some excerpts I found relevant below (I've taken the picture above once in Paris, a nice Velib utterly destroyed in a cardboard box):

"With 80 percent of the initial 20,600 bicycles stolen or damaged, the program’s organizers have had to hire several hundred people just to fix them. And along with the dent in the city-subsidized budget has been a blow to the Parisian psyche. (...) “We miscalculated the damage and the theft,” said Albert Asséraf, director of strategy, research and marketing at JCDecaux, the outdoor-advertising company that is a major financer and organizer of the project. “But we had no reference point in the world for this kind of initiative.” (...) At least 8,000 bikes have been stolen and 8,000 damaged so badly that they had to be replaced — nearly 80 percent of the initial stock (...) JCDecaux must repair some 1,500 bicycles a day. The company maintains 10 repair shops and a workshop on a boat that moves up and down the Seine. (...) “For a regular user like me, it generates a lot of frustration,” she said. “It’s a reflection of the violence of our society and it’s outrageous: the Vélib’ is a public good but there is no civic feeling related to it."

Why do I blog this? such an interesting example of how a technical objects rely on its socio-economical milieu to evolve. The figures here are tough but that illustrates the difficult life of innovations. I wonder about other cities where JC Decaux implemented this scheme.