Up till now, the hire service had been highly successful

Paris bike hire scheme suffering high theft

Just 18 months after its launch, the Paris bicycle hire scheme has run into trouble – over half the original 15,000 fleet has disappeared, presumed stolen.

The fleet is said to have been used over 42 million times by Parisians, however vandalism and theft has seen the number of road-worthy bicycles decline.

Advertising giant JCDecaux, who runs the scheme in exchange for a ten-year advertising contract utilising the bikes, has now said it will pull the plug on operating the hie service.

Some of the stolen bicycles are said to have been spotted as far away as Africa, according to the BBC.

Remi Pheulpin, JCDecaux’s director general told a Parisian newspaper: "It’s simple. All the receipts go to the city. All the expenses are ours. The costs are so high that a private business cannot handle it alone, especially as it’s a problem of public order. If we want the velib set-up to keep going, we’ll have to change the business model."

London is just one of the cities worldwide aspirational of setting up a similar hire service.

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