Microbuses and Bike Sharing: The New Parisian Street Scene

Luc Nadal of the Institute for Transportation Development Policy sends along these photos showing some of the exciting new things happening on Parisian streets these days.

We’ve been hearing a lot about Velib, Paris’s new public bike-sharing program. But that is just one of many new transportation and public space programs initiated by Mayor Bertrand Delanoe. 


Paris is also building new "microbus" lines that circulate through neighborhood streets delivering commuters to subways, trains and major bus lines. "The toyish vehicles," Nadal says, "are almost as fun as the old street cars." The have low floors and wide sliding doors that allow simultaneous boarding and alighting. The microbuses hold up to 22 passengers, 10 seated, 12 standing and room for one wheelchair. They run on diesel-electric hybrid engines and they are testing a system that reportedly saves up to 20 percent in fuel and emissions by automatically shutting down the engine when the bus is not in motion. The buses cost 85,000 Euros each.


The microbuses stop at 15 cm high platforms for easy loading and unloading.


This particular bus stop in the working-class, ethnically diverse Porte de la Villette neighborhood was built along with widened sidewalks, a physically-separated bike lane, new trees, and reduced motor vehicle traffic. On the other side of the street — not visible in the
photos — is a neighborhood park recently built on a former railyard. 


Here is a new two-way bike lane.


And here is an older bike lane, tucked between sidewalk and parked cars.


  • greg


  • Red

    My God, that bus is smiling. Could this be the start of the robotic uprising? Or have I just been watching too much Flight of the Conchords?

  • Ed Crotch

    Isn’t it amazing what great things can come about in a civilized city! A city where everyone does not feel like and behave like a rat!

  • Angus Grieve-Smith

    But do they allow you to bring shovels and rakes and implements of destruction on the microbus?

  • Angus Grieve-Smith

    Videos here:


    (Psst – I think parts of it are speeded up; traffic still doesn’t move that fast!)

  • P

    Given the high portion of labor as a part of the MTA’s budget wouldn’t it cost a fortune to run the mini buses?

    Are you sure this isn’t simply a public works program?

  • gecko


  • Eric

    All that and a park on top of the railyards, instead of Ratner’s “Gare de triage d’Atlantique.” Makes me proud to be a Frenchman.

  • Angus Grieve-Smith

    What’s so simple about a public works program?

    The question is not how much it costs, but whether it’s worth spending the money on that rather than something else.

    Part of the rationale is that it’s more efficient to run a full microbus than a half-full bus.

  • greg

    i would imagine that these buses are a lot quieter than he monsters roaming our streets

  • Christine Berthet

    OH LA LA !

    these double bike lanes under a canopee of trees ! so cool .. and the minibuses are “so cute” you want to hug them..

    what about getting all the phone booths in the city ( read bulky advertisement boards ) to be replaced with free bike parkings with advertisement ( flat advertisement boards) ???
    Replace a public service that isnot needed any longer with another one that is necessary..


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