Since I used both schemes, I thought a subjective comparison might be interesting. (My detailed experiences as a casual user of the Boris bikes are available here.)
All in all, both systems are great but both have their strengths as well as their weaknesses. Overall, however, from the perspective of a casual user I like the Velib scheme more than the Boris bikes.
Let’s compare the different aspects of the schemes one after another.
I found the Velib terminals rather confusing at first sight. They have to different sides, one is apparently for subscribers while the other one is for casual users. It was 1 am when I used the Velib for the first time, and some vin rouge might have been a factor. Be it as it may, initially I was trying to use the side for subscribers and was desperately looking for a credit card slot. I was close to giving up, buy my wife, who had only drunk Perrier, finally managed to figure it out that we have to use the other side of the terminal.
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