Monday, April 22, 2013

Bikesharing Blossom

Korea.net published an interesting focus on bikesharing services in Korea ("Bikesharing spreads in Korea" - also in French "Le partage de vélos prend de l'ampleur en Corée"), for which I was interviewed as a Parisian (2007) and Seoulite (2008) early adopter, but also as a cycling blogger*.

I'm glad to learn that services have multiplied across the nation as well as across the capital. Of course, I never expected Seoul to be covered as easily as Paris for obvious reasons: the landscape makes service continuity very hard at the geographic level, the weather at the seasonal level, but I wish the different services operated at the district ("gu") level started converging. If not geographically, at least system-wise and marketing-wise, to facilitate their diffusion.

If bikesharing services can seldom become moneymakers, they're a good investment for local authorities... who should remember they don't have to invest all by themselves: JC Decaux operates Velib' in Paris as part of a larger deal that covers public advertising space, and Paris city manages to makes money even if Velib' would cost it 60 to 85 million euros every year without advertising.

And again, one of the virtues of bikesharing systems is the trigger effect: many Parisians bought a bike after testing Velib, and that's what I did in Seoul. If many neighborhoods were bike-friendly long before 2008, Gwanghwamun area really became fully enjoyable on two wheels following the inauguration of the square.


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* see all posts related to bicycle, in particular "Public bike rental services bloom in Seoul and around"

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