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Mobility made easier in Paris

Moving around Paris and in Ile-de-France has just been made easier. Hands up anyone who uses Velib’ and are owners of Android phones. Hands up too anyone who has limited zone Navigo passes. Here’s what happened this week…

Biking in Paris

Finally an official Velib’ app for Android!

Thousands of iPhone users have been enjoying the privilege since May 2010, in tracking where one can find or park Velib’ quickly while being out and about the city. Believe it or not, despite Androids being the second largest market share after iOSs, and in recent months have truly trounced Apple’s iOS’s shipments (68% of Android smartphones vs 17% of iPhones in Q2 of 2012), apps for Nokia OVI and Window Phones were developed ahead of Androids. I’m not sure what’s the logic in that… Surely the aim would be to try to capture the most users possible?

For Android users, up until now, it was either (1) to go with one of a number of unofficial apps, (2) to web browse the official Velib’ page, or (3) to go without and play “guess where I can find a bike or a spot to deposit the bike”. Ok, I supposed you can also check with the map displayed at Velib’ station if the one you happen to be at is empty (no bike to hire) or full (nowhere to park). Still, the point is, in one word – inconvenient. We smartphone-ers expect everything to come to us at a swipe of the screen of our phones, as quickly as possible. ;)

Frankly, I was not keen with the idea of using unofficial apps. For one, they are not terribly efficient and I’ve heard plenty from friends having trouble with them that many ended up simply uninstalling the apps. Secondly, I really am not very comfortable about installing unofficial apps and allowing them access to information on my phone. Call me paranoid but how do I know what information are they gathering exactly? Sure, I don’t know what the official app is gathering from my phone either but at least the trust level is higher than that given to some random Micky Mouse outfit.

So, go on, hit that Google Play icon now and search to download the brand new official Velib’ app for Android.

“Zone-free” Navigo (weekends and les jours fériés)

Want to go to Versailles at the weekend but not feel obliged to stay the entire day after paying for additional zone 4 tickets to get out there from Paris? Or perhaps you have a flight to catch at CDG for a quick weekend getaway? Or inspiration strikes and you think exploring St-Germain-en-Laye would be a good idea?

Happy news for (nearly) all passengers with monthly Navigo, annual Navigo, or monthly Solidarité Transport pass. After a delay of 2 months in implementation (as per previous reports), from tomorrow (1 September) onwards, when the clock strikes midnight on Fridays and up until midnight on Sundays, it matters not how many zones you’ve paid your passes for. You. Can. Now. Go. Everywhere (in Ile-de-France). With. Your. Pass.

Hurrah!

And it is not just for the weekends; any public holidays – same principle applies. Such a wonderful initiative that I don’t even mind the price of my pass being increased by a wee bit: on average 2% to the previous price. Afterall, I normally hold a pass for zone 1-2, and now I could consider venturing further afield of Paris at the weekend without spending for additional single tickets to go places.

Anyone on all-zone pass must be feeling a bit left out. Afterall, they’re already travelling everywhere with their expensive pass. Well, should all go to plan as previously reported (same article above), from 1 January 2013 onwards, there ought to be just a single standard price for all pass holders regardless of the amount of zone travelled. That’s right, no more different tarifs for different specified zones of use. Just that one standard rate. This is when it gets really interesting for pass holders of zones beyond 1-2 as there is substantial savings for them to be had, although holders of suburban 2-zone passes may feel some pinch of price increase by about 10%.

What I haven’t quite figure out is how they’re going to carry out the third part of the ticketing reform, scheduled to take place in mid-2014. Passengers would be charged based on “mileage”/distance travelled, something along how mobile phone charges can be incurred? We’ll see. For now, let’s just enjoy the perk from the weekend de-zoning initiative.



Category: Paris, Tips

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12 scribbles & notes

  1. Ann Mah says:

    Isn’t the Navigo expansion great? I was so excited to learn about it, too. Especially now that the RER B is restored to full service after the summer travaux!

    • Lil says:

      it is awesome! i’m eyeing a couple of weekend afternoon getaways but september/october is such a busy period for birthday festivities. still, i can’t wait to explore more!

  2. medca says:

    hey hey lil…long time no update and one for merdeka day hehehe ;)

    • Lil says:

      i know, i’ve been terrible at writing. lots of back-dated posts to come. i’m trying to regain some of my writing discipline and fingers crossed it’ll stick this time ;)

  3. medca says:

    No worries lil hehehehe ;) this is not an assignment with deadline k

    • Lil says:

      hehehe… and now i’m going to confuse people even more by posting some current posts at the same time as back-dated ones :p

  4. Jesper says:

    Do you know if it is possible for tourists to use the app (iPhone) to use the bikes? :)

    • Lil says:

      Yes, of course. Tourists can get a 1-day subscription (€1.70) or 7-day subscription (€8). I think you can even buy the passes through the app nowadays? Haven’t tried though so can’t say for sure. It’s easy to buy the pass from the machines in the city in any case. :)

    • Jesper says:

      Sounds really good, since it would make it a lot easy to cruise around Paris… Now to find the right app, since they are all in French >.<

    • Lil says:

      Oh just get the official app – mine is actually in English (just checked my phone) otherwise it’s not difficult to use in any case ;)

    • Jesper says:

      Found it and even managed to swap the language to English! Buying subscriptions will be in French it seem, but I am sure I will manage :)

    • Lil says:

      You can buy it when you’re here – there’s no need to buy ahead really. Or grab one of our cards ;)

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