As the Hyderabad Metro Rail is inaugurated by Prime Minister Modi today, it is all set to ply its first set of imported smart bikes from Germany for ‘last mile connectivity’ starting next week.
This first set of cycles are already lined up at Miyapur metro station and a smart bike station has been set up on the pathway between the HMR Pylon and the lift.
Commuters will be able to avail of the all-new geared smart bikes in a week after more smart bike stations are set up. They have to take up a membership of the Hyderabad Cycling Club to avail the service.
The rationale behind ‘last mile connectivity’ using smart bikes is to make commuting to Metro stations greener, by avoiding the use of conventional fuel-guzzling vehicles. In addition to helping commuters make a healthier lifestyle, the facility will help reduce emissions and combat air pollution.
Each of these blue bikes parked in a row at Miyapur, come with their unique number, and a carriage in the front to place your belongings. They are also fitted with GPS, to make the commuters aware of their location, while stationary as well as in use.
While the dawn of these high-tech smart bikes is something most other cities can learn from, it is important to note that Hyderabad is not the first to introduce shared cycles.
Here’s a list of cities and cycle-sharing initiatives in cities that you can avail of too:
1. The heritage city of Mysuru, in Karnataka, with its urban population of about 12 lakh, launched India’s first public bicycle sharing (PBS) project, Trin Trin in June 2017. The Government of Karnataka project, partially funded by the World Bank under the Global Environment Facility (GEF) Grant, is planned and implemented by the Directorate of Urban Land Transport and Mysuru City corporation
Trin Trin lets the general public borrow bicycles from any of the 48 docking stations set up across the city and return them to another one nearest to their destination. It is a major hit among the students who instead of waiting for buses and spending on autos, take these cycles to schools and colleges.
The project is operated by Green Wheel Ride, a Mysuru city based enterprise which manufactures eco-friendly battery-operated bicycles. Currently, the system features 52 hubs and 450 bicycles.
All you need to do to avail of the service is get registered as a member by paying Rs 350. This includes a refundable deposit and issues you a smart card, which you may swipe to take out a bicycle from the docking station.
2. Delhi Metro Corporation launched its first software-based ‘Public Bicycle Sharing scheme (PBS)’ to allow commuters to take cycles on rent from a residential area and travel to the nearest Metro station and back from Metro stations to the nearby localities.
The cycle users can avail of the facility at multiple destinations with the help of a rechargeable smart card. Full details of the travel and the charges are sent to the users via SMS and email.
The first facility was inaugurated at the Saket Metro station, and Neb Sarai and bicycle rental shelters were opened simultaneously at Hauz Khas and Akshardham Metro stations. DMRC has been operating a cycle rental service at the Vishwavidyalaya Metro station successfully for the last six years in association with ‘Greenolution’ for last mile connectivity.
The facility is provided only after thorough verification of the commuters after they fill out easy forms at the beginning. These forms may be collected from cycle shelters or be downloaded from www.greenolution.in. The facility charges Rs. Ten/- per hour. It operates in summers from 8 AM to 8 PM and during winters from 8 AM to 7 PM. On Sundays, it is available only until 4 PM.
4. With over 500 bicycles, Bhopal launched India’s first fully automated bicycle sharing programme in June 2017. With over 12 km of dedicated bicycle tracks across 50 locations in the city, the commutes can hire a bicycle using a phone app. This allowed them to register, select a custom plan and pay for the same. The project cost over Rs seven crore was rolled out as a public, private partnership model with Rs three crore financed through the Smart City Mission’s funds and the rest covered by a private company.
5. In Bengaluru, green technology startup Kerberon Automation started a bicycle sharing system called ATCAG (Automated Tracking and Control of Green Assets). This concept that automatically issues and accepts bicycles electromechanically ran its pilot project with nine cycles at three locations in Bengaluru in association with the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) and Directorate of Urban Land Transport (DULT), Govt. of Karnataka. The automated system cuts waiting time and human intervention and makes it easier for the commuters to use the system.
6. In 2012, the Indian Institute of Science launched Namma Cycle, a simple cycle share system where students could sign-up and get a registration id on the website, select the cycle and ride it from the station racks and return it to the nearest station. Within five months, 3000 trips covered 4500 km and prevented one ton of CO2 emissions saving 300 litres of petrol.
7. Jaipur Smart City Ltd (JSCL) launched a public bicycle sharing scheme in October called ‘Cyclo.’ Launched from two locations, Jawahar Circle and Ram Niwas Bagh, the facility will be extended to 20 locations across the city in a phased manner. Commuters can rent a bicycle from any designated docking station and return it to another docking station in the city, at a minimum rent of Rs 10 per hour. Each station has 20 cycles for rent.
All the commuters have to do to avail is show proof of identity card and fill out a form. The form will be available at all cycle stations or can be downloaded from Greenolution’s website. With each cycle station costing about Rs 5.5 lakh, the project is estimated to cost of Rs 1.10 crore.