vélo bleu 

Vélo bleu (blue bikes) enables you to rent a bike, pick it up from, and return it to any one of the 180 stations. You can subscribe for one day, one week or a month. The system is far from perfect but it exists and is really handy. There are almost 1800 bicycles to rent.

Prices

The price of the subscription depends on its duration.

  • one day  = 1€
  • one week = 5€
  • one month = 10€
  • one year = 25 € (10€ discount if you also have an annual bus subscription.)

Then the price of each rental depends on its duration.

  • The first half an hour is free.
  • The next one costs 1€.
  • Then, each hour (even partially used) costs 2€.

If you don't keep the bike too long, you really can use this service for free, apart from the initial subscription. All you have to do is make short hops, less than 30mn long. Note that you may not keep a bike longer than 24 hours. Beyond this limit the bike is considered lost or stolen and a fine will be taken from you credit card.

How to subscribe?

It depends on how long you want to subscribe

  • for a day or a week
    You will need a credit card to pay and a cell phone to hire the bikes.
    You can
    • subscribe right now online. Beware, the subscription starts immediately.
    • subscribe from a velo bleu station.
      Turn the station on. Choose your language. With the cell phone you'll use to rent the bikes call the  04 30 00 30 01. This is a secure number. Give your credit card numbers. On the station choose "I subscribe" and follow the instructions.
  • for a month or a year
    Note that you will receive by mail an identification card which will enable you to rent the bikes without your cell phone. the subscription will start the day when you rent your first bike.
    You can
    • do as for a one day or a one week subscription (see above) and you'll be able to rent a bike immediately with your cell phone.
    • subscribe by mail.
      Download the form (pdf) and fill it. Send it with your bank account identification and a check to pay the subscription to
      Vélo Bleu
      BP 105
      06102 Nice CEDEX
      Expect a week before you can rent a bike for the first time with your cell phone.

The good news : you can hire and return the bikes in Nice, but also in St Laurent du Var et Cagnes sur Mer. You will find there velo bleu stations too. There is only one subscription and it enables you to use the bikes in the three cities. No extension needed.

You can rent up to 5 bikes with one account only. To do it, you have to subscribe as many times as needed with the same account. You can do it using this link or from the terminals, in the "information" menu. An authorisation for a 150 euros guarantee will be requested for each subscription.

At the velo bleu desk - only in front of the main train station

17 avenue Thiers.
No need to go there to subscribe. The desk clerks cannot activate your account from there.

 


Rent a bike

You have subscribed? you can hire bikes.

borne vélo bleu 

  • Turn the station on.
  • Wait ! The stations take a looong time to turn on, upload the software, check that eveything is all right. Irritating...
  • Choose "rent a bike"
  • Identify yourself. Two ways to do this :
    • Call the station with the phone number displayed on the screen. (Each station has its own number.) The call will cost you nothing because the station does not pick up the call. It simply reads your phone number. Do not hide it.
    • Or use the identification card you got passing it in front of the sensor under the digits keyboard.
  • Choose the bike if several of them are available and unlock it. Before you choose the bike we advise you to check it. Brakes, lights and crank gear. Many bikes are damaged eg the crank gears don't work properly.
  • remember the locker number if you want to lock your bike. If you forget it, you can get a reminder on any station with your identification card or by phone.
  • Lock the chain in the basket. If it falls when you're riding and get mangled in the wheel, you'll be on the ground before you know it.

If there are no bikes at the station where you are, turn it on and click on "find a bike". It will tell you where there are. Beware because the system calculates distances as the crows fly and sometimes you have to walk much more to get there.

univéloIf you have a smart phone, we advise you to use this free android app to know where the bikes are or where you can return a bike. It is simple and works much better than the official app. It is also available for Iphone but the apple version costs 0,99€. There are alternates. Choose on your phones' stores.

When you want to return the bike, turn a station on, wait, choose "return a bike", lock the chain in the docking place the station has chosen. IMPORTANT : make sure that the chain is properly locked. The locking is confirmed by a red light above the docking place. WAIT then until the duration of your rental appears on the screen. This means that the station has contacted the server and that the server knows that you returned the bike. If no time is displayed, call vélo bleu (04 93 72 06 06).

If there is no place left to return you bike, turn one of the station on. Click on find ("Trouver"). It will tell you where you can find a place to return your bike among the closest stations. Then call the station as if you wanted to rent a bike, or identify yourself using your velo bleu card. (It's a toll free call, since they don't answer it but just identify you with your phone number.) You will be granted 15 free extra minutes to go return your bike.

The drawbacks of the system

As we said, velo bleu is really handy, but there are many potential problems.

  • many bikes are damaged. Users are to blame. Lights do not work, the gears are broken...
  • the stations take so long to turn on. Expect 5 mn to hire and then return a bike.
  • the stations are not powered by mains, but by batteries. If the battery is dead, the station is unusable and the bikes which are locked to it also.
  • the stations communicate with the central server with a wireless phone network. Sometimes for an unknown reason the network doesn't work and the station goes off line. You can't hire a bike nor return yours. In this case, the time you'll need to find an other station, turn it on again, or simply the time before the network gets back to work is charged to you. Usually these network problems don't last more than 5 - 10mn so keep trying.

Usually, users signal out of order bikes by returning the saddle backwards.

Vélos bleus, the official site.

Something wrong with our english translation? Please let us know.

 

 

 

pieds_noirs.jpg