Developing the bike-sharing system as part of the public transport system
To complement the city's first bike rental system, known as vélos jaunes, which was launched in 1976, La Rochelle developed an innovative bike-sharing system that is fully integrated within the public transport network.
Implementing sustainable mobility
Bike sharing, mainly for short-duration usage, can be an efficient took in global bike policy at local level. In an effort to reduce the number of car trips made in the city, and the associated pollutant emissions, a new bike-sharing system was introduced, building on an existing bike rental scheme. The main objectives were to:
- extend the bike-sharing system to be available 24/7;
- strengthen multimodality at transportation hubs;
- encourage soft modes for home/school and home/work travel and travel related to leisure activities; and
- integrate the bike-sharing system within La Rochelle's global ticketing system in the form of the "Yelo" brand.
Initial research was carried out in partnership with the School of Industrial Engineering in La Rochelle (EIGSI) to determine the parameters of the new system. In total, 120 bikes, available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, were put into operation at 12 stations located at the main transport and activity hubs (railway station, universities, P+R). The system evolved continuously, in terms of both geographical cover and technology:
- 5 bike-sharing stations were put into operation during Mobility Week 2005;
- 7 additional stations were introduced between April and August 2006 (120 bikes);
- the new automated system was officially presented during an informal meeting of European transport ministers in La Rochelle in September 2008;
- 25 new stations were put into operation in 2009, and the bike-sharing scheme was integrated into La Rochelle's smart card system.
- 94 percent 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.
- In 2007, over 6,000 car trips were avoided.
- Bike sharing contributed to a reduction in car trips and pollutant emissions (based on the proportion of bike sharers who had previously used a private car).
- The number of car-kilometres avoided can be estimated at between 3,000 and 9,530.
- Petrol consumption avoided can be estimated at between 200 and 650 litres.
- CO2 emissions reductions can be estimated at between 720 and 2,290 kg.