Four months after the launch of the ‘Hire A Bicycle’ service at Namma Metro stations along Reach-1 (between MG Road and Baiyappanahalli), public interest in the initiative has remained low.
According to chairperson of Kerberon Automations, Syed Haseeb Arfat, the man behind Automated Tracking and Control of Green Assets (ATCAG), the service has managed to attract just 40 registered users to date. “But the situation was even more discouraging in January when there were just 35 registered users,” Arfat explained.
The total stand capacity of the bicycle renting facility, which has six metro stations along Reach-1 and three other units at Anil Kumble Circle, at the Public Utility Building complex on MG Road and at Brigade Road-Residency Road junction – is 100 bicycles. Currently, however, there are 68 bicycles ready for use.
Arfat expressed the hope that the number of registered users will increase once other Namma Metro stations open. “Compared to international standards, 40 users are not a bad number to start with,” he said.
“A similar service started in London took one and half years to take off and to be accepted by the public.”
Commuters, however, complain that the bicycle stations are located close to each other, discouraging potential users.
Prashanth K, a bicycle user, pointed out that many stands are located so close to each other that the distance between them can be covered by walk.
“Bicycle users want a better spread of such stations, spread out over several kilometres,” he said. “When the Metro reaches other parts of the City, the service may be of better use.”
Those interested in becoming registered users of the service are required to submit a valid government identity proof (driving licence, passport, ration card, etc) and a refundable deposit of Rs 1,000 for a contactless smart card.
Smart cards can be recharged by maintaining a minimum balance of Rs 250. The first hour of usage per day is free. Subsequent hours come with a charge of Rs 10 per hour.
Registered users can swipe the card at the docking stations located at metro stations or other places, use it for transit in the City and park it in the next available docking station.
“We have recently opened an online registration and payment system (www.atcag.in) for the service,” Arfat explained.
“We are expecting more users to join us through this.”
ATCAG has tied up with the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike and the Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Limited for providing the service.