Why the new Vélib’ will always remain the fiasco of the “Vélibgate”

Smovengo say that Vélib’ is better, misadventures of the operator of self-service bicycles in Paris are the responsibility of the industrial disaster. Yet this Friday, may 16th, at a press conference organised in the centre of Paris, the director-general, Jorge Azevedo has had great proclaim a “recovery plan,” he was unable to commit to a date about the end of the full deployment of up to 1,400 stations that were originally scheduled for the end of the month of march. In early may, under pressure from the mayor of Paris and the union of the elect in the île de france, Vélib’Autolib’Metropolis, the delegate was forced to launch an “emergency plan” to remove the terminals 3.000 bikes that were blocking the whole system.

That done, announced Jorge Azevedo : “we have accelerated the electrification of the existing stations and temporarily stopped the deployment of new stations,” he explained. Now 699 terminals are deployed, of which 369 were electrified and 800 are expected to be operational at the end of June, promises the executive. Listen Smovengo, things improve : “We have recorded over 12,000 races over 3 minutes these days,” notes Nicolas Boutaud, director of marketing of the company, against the 5,000 a few weeks ago.” But this is still far from the 28 to 30,000 trips recorded at the end of march ! Not to mention that the successor of JC Decaux has been compelled to get out the electric bikes and disable the option to “Park + “, which allowed to hang bikes when stations are full. Yet one of the innovations in the headlights of Smovengo which allowed him to snag the contract in the face of the competitor outgoing.

Not everything depends on us,” repeated in a loop in his defence, the director-general. He warns further that “the deployment will also be more difficult in the suburbs, because instead of having a single interlocutor, as in Paris, we have several.” Not very reassuring for the exit from the crisis.

“Lack of dialogue”

As far as on the social front, things are not better : Since April 17, sixty employees (out of 131 in total ) in charge of installing the bikes and the repair is on strike. Smovengo repeats that following the decision of the tribunal de grande instance on 14 may, the conflict is not legal. This Friday morning at the exit of the press conference, the employees were again denounced the “lack of dialogue” with management. “We have signed a contract to work quickly, which does not correspond to reality,” criticizing an employee strike. A mediation must be put in place.

It was an emergency. Waiting for the “Vélibgate” as applied to the internet users on the social networks, eventually reach the elected officials and the mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo, who his political opponents complain that also “the scandal Streeteo”. The issue of the false controls of parking made by the subsidiary of the group Indigo, a member of the conglomerate linked to Smovengo. Most importantly, everyone wonders about the reasons that led to such a skid while the actors in presence are of strong industrial groups like Mobivia (ex-Norauto), a subsidiary of the group Mulliez, Moventia, which operates buses and tramways in Catalonia, and Indigo, leading to the car park.

Under pressure, while a abandonment of Vélib’ plomberait its mandate and its new election campaign, Anne Hidalgo would have given two months for teams to Smovengo to resolve their problem. In the meantime the penalties accumulate, to the tune of 4 million euros now, but that could be much higher once all the clauses established in the contract, have been decrypted. But, there is no question to talk about the side of Smovengo.

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