Cycle sharing system all set for Nov launch

Cycle sharing system all set for Nov launch

An ambitious public bicycle sharing (PBS) system was announced for Bengaluru in the 2017-18 Karnataka budget.

The government subsequently identified many locations in the city with potential demand.

Initially, the system will be introduced near MG Road, Vidhana Soudha, Indiranagar, Koramangala, HSR Layout, Banaswadi, HRBR Layout, and HBR Layout.

N Murali Krishna, special officer, Department of Urban Land Transport, says, “The city is divided into eight clusters. We have identified 384 bicycle parking hubs.”

The system works with geo-tagging. When cycles are picked up or dropped at these locations, the charges start or stop.

“We got an approval from the BBMP towards the end of August to kickstart the programme. We are awaiting marking of the 384 locations,” he told Metrolife.

“We are awaiting documents for issuing permits. The demarcation of parking hubs and the authentication of documents are two factors which are needed to get the system starting. We hope PBS will kickstart by November,” he says.

Sathya Sankaran, bicycle mayor, says in the PBS the most important thing is to have enough bicycles available for last-mile connectivity.

“The system works just like Ola or Uber; you don’t own a car, you rent one. The only difference is that you will be hiring a cycle and riding it yourself,” he says.

Safety is among the concerns, especially for women. Those cycling to work need to be provided showers to freshen up, he says.

In any case, he observes, cycle lanes are a must. Many lanes were laid out in Bengaluru, including some in Jayanagar, but they are only used by vehicles as parking spaces.

“Cycling tracks encourage more people to shift to cycling. The lanes in Jayanagar were only painted portions of roads, and that doesn’t work. They need proper segregation, like how it is on Residency Road,” says Sathya, who is also founder of a group called Citizens for Sustainability.

Bhavesh Jardosh, manager in an IT firm and avid cyclist, says many in Bengaluru continue cycling to work despite the many hurdles.

“Though I cycle five days a week and do not face any major issues, I have heard prospective cyclists say they do not feel safe riding in the city,” he says.

Bad roads and lack of proper lighting are bigger risks for cyclists than for motorists.

“Even heavy cars and motorbikes are prone to accidents given the road conditions. Cyclists are more vulnerable. Imagine riding a cycle on a broken road with no lighting,” adds Bhavesh.

When the PBS is considered as a last-mile connectivity programme, it is important to ensure it is accessible for all, he observes.

People who use the Metro or BMTC are from all segments of the society so the plan needs to be viable for all, Bhavesh says.

384 Cycle parking hubs coming up in Bengaluru.

"Don’t develop 2 km of isolated tracks and expect the bicycle network to work. If someone is cycling from Marathahalli to M G Road, they need tracks for a continuous 10 km without breaks, or they are thrown into crazy traffic again," says Bhavesh Jardosh, avid cyclist


Pedal providers

Yulu, Mobycy, and PEDL by Zoomcar have shown interest in city’s public bicycle system. They want to provide the cycles.

Why have cycle tracks failed?

Cycle tracks and roads should be at different levels or they serve no purpose. They are at the same level in Jayanagar, and that is why they failed. Tracks coming up in HSR Layout, Yelahanka and Sanjaynagar will work better, says N Murali Krishna, special officer, Department of Urban Land Transport, Karnataka.

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