It’s a real scourge that has grown in recent years in the Paris region: the theft of the famous sky blue and black Véligo bicycles. Properties in the Île-de-France region, which rents these electric bikes for a period of 6 or 9 months, these electric bikes, of good quality and rather resistant, are thus found sold on platforms, such as on the Facebook Marketplace, where their price varies between 70 and 450 euros, with or without battery. Except that these bikes - the unique model of which was designed for Île-de-France Mobilités (IDFM) - are only intended to be rented, over a very short time, to Ile-de-France residents who are hesitant to afford an electric bike, and not must under no circumstances be sold. A grotesque situation that Agnès Presberg, the deputy general manager in charge of development of Véligo Location, must face, who explains that she noticed these illicit sales two years ago already.
“It is above all a bad customer experience that we are fighting against, and I would say that it is neither a marginal phenomenon, nor that it is very serious,” she admits today, refusing however to inform us of the number of bicycles concerned. What is certain is that Véligo Location is not sitting idle: for several months, the region's service has been working hand in hand with online platforms for the resale of second-hand items. Le Bon Coin, for example, “was immediately very responsive, by setting up an algorithm which systematically deletes Véligo sales announcements”, welcomes the deputy CEO, who concedes that the discussion was more complicated with Facebook: “ There is better. Since this summer, they have been removing the ads every time we report them (...) It’s a stopgap, because we would prefer that they not be put online.”
Except that you just need to go to the famous American social network to understand that the situation is far from being resolved. A phenomenon still on the fringes a few years ago, when the service launched in 2019 was very successful, but is slowly starting to become a real thorn in the side of this service which meets with the approval of Ile-de-France residents. “The figures speak for themselves: 94% of our users are satisfied with the service and 68% continue the experience by bike”, we rejoice at Véligo, while more than 90,000 Ile-de-France residents have been able to benefit from the service at this time. day.
But it is clear that, despite the warnings from Véligo Location, theft can occur anywhere and whenever. Violette, a young thirty-something Parisian, recently paid the price. When she had parked her bike in the heart of Paris, at the foot of her building, what was her surprise to discover that it had been stolen, even though it had no battery. Far from resigning herself to agreeing to reimburse her stolen bike - at the price of 1200 euros for a classic model without insurance - she then began to carry out her investigation alone. Helped by the geolocation of her two-wheeler available on the official Véligo application, she then found it just a few kilometers from her home, in Barbès. There, tied with a padlock that does not belong to her, she decides to wait for the thief to show up. Which he will never do. It was finally with the help of a local trader that she sawed and cut the padlock to be able to recover the Véligo.
A story that ends well, but which clearly demonstrates the attraction that thieves have in taking these electric bikes, even without a key, battery or charger, and therefore in fact unusable as is. And this, only to resell them on the black market. In May 2022, IDFM had already attracted the attention of users of the service, regarding battery theft, which was increasingly common in Paris and the region. In an email sent to all subscribers, Véligo called on all users “to be extremely vigilant by adopting good reflexes”, explaining that “the only way to avoid theft and damage” was to “systematically remove the battery of the bicycle when parked.
But one of the most complicated points to manage for Véligo Location is the immobilization of the fleet of electric bikes by delivery people, who are however absolutely not the target users desired when the service was launched. “Today, there are still delivery people but we see that there are fewer of them,” says the deputy general director in charge of the development of Véligo Location. But the problem is such that since 2021, Véligo has made the decision to cap the use of these two-wheelers, with a limitation on the distance and duration of use of each bike. From then on, it is no longer possible to exceed 600 kilometers per fortnight, nor to make more than 10 daily trips with the same bike, to have an average of less than 5 kilometers per trip and to use your Véligo more than 5 days a week. Under penalty of seeing your subscription be immediately terminated. A new service regulation which was aimed, without explicitly mentioning it, at home delivery people.
Here again, it is a failure. Two years later, not only are there still just as many delivery people, sometimes up to ten Véligos are parked in front of the address of a dark store for example, or in front of a restaurant, waiting for the order to be ready for delivery. deliver. But they also participate in the marketing of second-hand Véligos, as evidenced by a recent investigation by Le Parisien, in which a journalist explains having tried to buy a bicycle from the region sold illegally on Facebook. On site, the journalist presented as a simple buyer speaks with the seller who explains to him that he himself bought this bike a few months previously to make deliveries, and even offers to sell him an additional battery. Contacted, the Meta group for its part did not take the care to respond to our requests.