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Bike-sharing system/ La Rochelle (France)

By News Editor / Updated: 29 Aug 2014

Since the implementation of the first bike rental system known as vélos jaunes in 1976, La Rochelle has been further promoting soft modes on its territory. Within CIVITAS, La Rochelle has developped a new and innovative bike-sharing system, totally integrated in the PT network.

Objectives / Innovative Aspects

- To design and extend a bike-sharing system available 24/7 and to strengthen multimodality at transportation hubs
  • To encourage soft modes for home/school, home/work travels and leisure activities
  • To integrate the bike-sharing system in the La Rochelle global ticketing system

The Measure

First deployment of bike-sharingThe initial system implemented in 2005 consisted in card locks placed on the bikes and at the stations. To get a bike, the user had to introduce a perforated card in the station’s card lock.A research project and a prototype were carried out in partnership with the EIGSI to determine the functioning of this system. Calls for tenders were launched for the structure manufacture, the implementation and the furniture of specific bikes and card locks.In total, 120 bikes, available 24/7, were implemented in 12 stations located at the main transport and activity hubs (railway station, universities, P+R…). The geographical extension has been progressive (5 stations in 2005; 7new in 2006-07). This system was very simple. Nevertheless, it presented some deficiencies. The solution was the extension of its functionalities and its automation.Towards a new Bike-sharing system
  • launch of a call for tenders only for the furniture of equipment. The new system is based on the following priorities:
  • making it accessible with the public transport smartcard
  • real-time monitoring (number of bikes rented, occupancy rate at the stations, duration of use...). Each station had to be equipped with a GPRS modem to transfer data to a server at the RTCR depot.
  • Safety (stations and bikes): vandalism is one of the main problems when implementing a 24/7 service.
  • Renewable energy: the new stations are solar-powered. Apart from the environmental added-value, it reduces the operating costs.
A first prototype was designed by FlexBike and validated in spring 2008. The location of the stations was chosen according to a specific gridding and taking into account the main activity and multimodality hubs.Following the in-depth modifications brought to the system, it was also necessary to review the pricing offer: deposit for the bike, linear or progressive pricing.Image of the upgraded service: the name, branding and marketing of the new bike-sharing service have been fully integrated to the new public transport offer called “Yelo”.Within CIVITAS, 25 stations were installed. By the end of 2009, 50 stations with 300 bikes will be available

Implementation Status

The bike-sharing system has continuously evolved not only in terms of geographical cover and technology:First deployment of bike-sharing
  • 5 bike sharing stations implemented during the Mobility Week 2005, plus 7 additional stations between April and August 2006 (120 bikes).
Large promotion campaign ensured a good knowledge of this system designed for home/school, home/work travels and leisure activitiesA second wind for bike-sharing
  • 1-2 September 2008: official presentation of the new automated system during the European Transport Ministers informal meeting in La Rochelle.
  • 2009: 25 new stations; integration of bike-sharing to the La Rochelle smart card system.
-By the end of 2009, 50 stations with 300 bikes will be available


- Level of acceptance: 94% of the 600 respondents in the November 2008 Population/Public Transport survey felt that the provision of a bike-sharing service was useful from a global perspective
  • Car trips avoided and reduction of pollution: bike-sharing has contributed to reduce car trips and pollutant emissions (proportion of bike-sharers which previously used their car): the number of kilometers saved by car estimated between 3,000 and 9,530 km, the consumption of petrol avoided estimated between 200 and 650 litres the reduction of CO2 emissions estimated between 720 and 2,290 kilos.
La Rochelle
Matthieu Aubineau
03 Aug 2009
29 Aug 2014
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