New DULT scheme rethinks bicycle services in Bengaluru

New DULT scheme rethinks bicycle services in Bengaluru

The Directorate of Urban Land Transport (DULT) has proposed to open up the entire city to bicycle operators and those providing electricity-powered bicycles. DH FILE/Pushkar V

The Directorate of Urban Land Transport (DULT) has proposed to open up the entire city to bicycle operators and those providing electricity-powered bicycles under a new scheme.

The move comes following the realisation that Public Bicycle Sharing (PBS) is not taking off under the current regulatory regime.

The existing system, implemented in 2018, has carved up Bengaluru into eight clusters, each roughly sizing about 10 sqkms. Private players were encouraged to set up PBS in phase 1 cluster made of HSR Layout and Vidhana Soudha, with the sanctioned strength of 2,300 bicycles.

In its draft notification, DULT noticed that "there is no scheme for new entrants and other interested parties" to run the PBS system.

"Further, recent introductions like pedal-assisted e-bicycles without throttle and moped-style electric bikes with throttle (MSEB) has also necessitated this update," the notification said.

New scheme

DULT has sought to introduce a new scheme under which permits will be given to set up and operate public bike-sharing and shared micro-mobility system (SMMS) where companies can bring MSEB to the vehicle-sharing market.

DULT Commissioner V Manjula said the draft policy would incorporate suggestions to provide a better solution. "The idea is to allow PBS to thrive based on demand. The companies can assess the demand and provide PBS and SMM systems." 

While the PBS systems would likely get a push from government agencies like BBMP, BMTC and Namma Metro in terms of docking space, SMMS operators who provide electric bikes or bicycles with throttle will be on their own. Both systems are aimed toward improving first- and last-mile connectivity.

Interested operators can send an application to the Karnataka Non-Motorised Transport Agency, a registered society under DULT and other agencies. They need a licence from the agency to operate in the BBMP jurisdiction.

Operators can propose stretches and parking hub locations for PBS systems. While PBS operators can utilise the parking hubs provided by DULT, SMMS must set up their own space.