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Cycling its way to a resounding success

Bangalore, Subhash Chandra N S, July 15, 2013, DHNS:

Riding change

The ‘Rent a cycle’ scheme launched by Namma Metro may have had very few takers but the ‘Namma Cycle’ project based on the ‘Share a Cycle’ concept at the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) has proved to be a resounding success, recording 10,000 trips within the campus.

The project’s success lies in its well-planned implementation, proper management and enthusiastic users.

Launched on August 6, 2012, with Chennai-based TI Cycles India sponsoring 150 cycles, the project was supported by the Gubbi Labs, the Ride A Cycle Foundation (RAC-F) and the Centre for infrastructure, Sustainable Transportation and Urban Planning (CiSTUP).


How it works?

The project works on a simple Sign-Up, Select, Ride and Return system where students can sign up on the website and get a registration ID.

The users can select a cycle from any of the station racks, ride to their destination and then return it to the nearest station. Although it was started mainly for students, staff and faculty at IISc, a person can become a member by paying Rs 100 per month and Rs 500 for six months.

H S Sudhira, former researcher at IISc and now director at Gubbi Labs, explains, “For the first half an hour, the cycle can be used free of cost. Later, Rs five will be charged per hour. This is to encourage people to use bicycle, the sustainable mode of transport for short trips. It will not be more than 20 minutes to reach one end of the campus from another.”

Visitors can also avail of the facility by depositing their identity card.

According to the study by Gubbi labs, 40-50 per cent of the visitors who come to the campus use cycles, accounting for 40 per cent of the total 10,000 trips.

Makes money too

The ‘Namma Cycle’ project now generates an income Rs 8,000 per month for the IISc. As a result, the number of cycles have swelled by 50 per cent. So popular has the project become that the National Institute for Advanced Studies (NIAS) too wants to introduce it.

Most users are students who ride the cycle to reach canteen, hostels and faraway departments. Foreign visitors too are among the users.

According to Sudhira, the ‘Namma Cycle’ managers ensure there are sufficient number of cycles at the points in the morning.

Trollies were used to redistribute bicycles at necessary points, he added.

A software for the system that runs on a cloud-based platform has also been developed. Node managers facilitating the sharing system use smart phones to communicate to the remote server to log the transactions.

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