In the early 2000s, JCDecaux's history took a real turn, positioning the Group as a pioneer in a new market – eco-friendly transport.
In 2003, in Vienna (Austria), JCDecaux launched the first individual means of public transport– the Cyclocity self-service bicycle hire programme. With this system, the Group began to offer cities and their residents an eco-friendly means of transport in the very heart of the city, which provided a solution to environmental concerns and revolutionised traditional public transport.
In May 2005, four decades after Jean-Claude Decaux had signed the first advertising bus shelter contract there, Lyon became the first French city to adopt Cyclocity, which was re-named Vélo’v for the residents of Lyon and Villeurbanne. The initiative was so popular that, just six weeks after its launch, 10,000 riders had already signed up and the bicycles had travelled 40,000 km, which is equivalent to a trip around the world.
The largest self-service bicycle hire system in the world, Vélib’, was launched in Paris, in July 2007, by Bertrand Delanoë. JCDecaux called upon designer Patrick Jouin to provide Parisians with uniquely-designed and aesthetically-pleasing stations and bicycles, which blended seamlessly into the French capital's urban landscape. Among other awards, Vélib’ received the Ingenuity Award in 2012 in New York in the Infrastructure category. This is a highly prestigious award by which the Financial Times and Citi reward companies which propose innovative solutions to the challenges of modern urban infrastructure.
The bicycles, which have different names, designs and colour schemes from city to city, have been hired over 350 million times since the project was launched in 2003. This success is due to its ease of use (payment by bank card, links to city transport passes), complete city coverage, high-quality maintenance and reliable equipment.
Located in 69 cities and 13 countries across Europe, as well as in Australia and Japan, the system has a total of 47,000 self-service bicycles available for hire. By offering cities and their residents an eco-friendly means of transport, JCDecaux, No. 1 worldwide for self-service bicycle hire, provides the potential to incorporate a tangible environmental initiative and a new style of city life into the options for urban living.