First bikes, and now... electric cars? Oui, says Paris's Mayor Bertrand Delanoë, who recently proposed a program that would soon put 4,000 of the zippy, fuelless vehicles on his city's streets. "Autolib'" would mimic Paris's widely successful Velib' (bike rental) system, with hundreds of lots situated around the city to provide pick-up and drop-off points for vehicle users.
While there are still plenty of details to work out -- including rental costs and how to monitor car lots -- Autolib's expected start date is a little over a year from now. Some Parisians can hardly wait, especially given skyrocketing gas costs and parking headaches. Others are looking forward to the program for environmental reasons, including Greenpeace France's President Pascal Hunting:
Today we have consumer habits, whether it’s going to Ikea or elsewhere, which necessitate that once in a while, even those who can’t afford cars need to use one...we should be open to this type of initiative, knowing that there is not one solution to the problems of transportation and climate change."
Some Parisians have pooh-poohed the plan, including members of the city's influential Green Party, who claim that their city's goal should be to reduce car use altogether. Others worry about worsening the already notorious Paris traffic.
As for moi, I think the mayor is onto something. But if some of the problems the bike rental program has faced are any indication, Delanoë might want to figure out a security plan before Paris's cool new rides start turning up in Australia.
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