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'Rent a cycle' facility of Namma Metro to be launched today

Bangalore, Oct 29, 2012, DHNS: 0:44 IST
A file photo of BMRCL Managing Director Sivasailam inaugurating the new bicycle stand at MG Road Metro station.
The ambitious ‘rent a cycle’ facility that was launched as part of the first anniversary of Namma Metro operations on the 6.7-km long Reach -1 — Baiyappanahalli to MG Road — will finally take off on Tuesday.

The facility is expected to complement the Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Limited (BMRCL) - Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) feeder service, which sees several buses from the BMTC being operated as feeders from the six Metro stations on Reach - 1.

While the feeder helps people reach the respective Metro stations and get back to a preferred bus station from the Metro stations, the cycle service is expected to help those who do not need the feeder service, but an alternative facility to commute short distances to and from the stations.

“I use the Metro from Ulsoor to MG Road, where my office is located. Once I reach office, I commute only in the radius of two to three kilometre before heading home by the Metro. This facility allows me to say no to the auto rickshaws,” said Vinyashree A.

Syed Arafath, Co-Founder and Chairperson of Kerberon Automations, which has installed this system claimed: “This is the country’s first ever automated (cycle renting) system.”

He said that the registration process for availing a bicycle is simple. It will require a proof of identity and a deposit of Rs 1,000. While the first hour of renting a cycle would be free, charges would be Rs 10 per hour after that.

However, there are many who raise concerns such as the cost of renting, theft and safety. M N Sreehari, Advisor to Government of Karnataka on Traffic, Transport and Infrastructure, said: “Traffic and cycling cannot mix”. He said he would rather see practical and constructive measures like better connectivity of bus routes with the Metro and its further extension. “Such a scheme would work on the outskirts with big spaces, like Whitefield and Yelahanka” he said.

In line with Sreehari’s argument Abantar Das, a daily commuter said: “Of what use are these bikes for people who cannot return them immediately…like those who would like to use it to go to their office?”

For such persons, the company is said to have launched a special scheme which is on the lines of a monthly bus pass. “For such groups, the cost will be reduced by nearly 50 per cent,” Arafath said.

Each cycle has also been embedded with a special chip that has a unique identification and registers information such as the location of the cycle. “This virtually cuts out the possibility of theft,” he added.

Presently, the facility is available at the MG Road, Trinity and the Ulsoor Metro stations and the same would be extended to the other three stations—Indiranagar, Vivekananda Road and Baiyappanahalli—in the next two weeks.

A similar system of renting cycles was set up by the company in association with the BBMP at Anil Kumble Circle.

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