Bike rentals rev up in city

You can pick up a bike from a Metro station, or from a docking station, and take it anywhere. Bikes are addressing the last-mile connectivity problem

In Bounce scooters (left), customers ride the bike themselves; in Rapido, the customer is the pillion rider.

Bike rentals have taken off in a big way in Bengaluru. With strategically located pick-up points, Bounce, Vogo, and Rapido are gaining in popularity, and have aggregated about 10 lakh users in Bengaluru.

In the case of Bounce and Vogo, the bikes are self-drive; Rapido provides bike taxi services, with a ‘captain’ taking you pillion to your destination.

Bounce operates with a fleet of 5000 keyless scooters in Bengaluru that includes the Pep+ and the Activa.

Founded in 2014, Bounce has expanded to various cities, with its head office in Bengaluru, a city that also provides the company a large customer base.

Vogo has dedicated stations from where the bikes can be picked up and dropped off. It is expanding its services with new investments and has tied up with Ola. It has recently introduced 300 electric bikes in HSR layout and reduce the price to just Rs 3 a km.

Vijay Parth, a student who moved to Bengaluru recently, finds the pricing in Bounce pocket-friendly, and frequently uses the service.

Rahul Karthik, a resident of the city for 20 years, has been using Vogo, Bounce and Rapido.

“My experience has been largely satisfying. There are a few issues, that would be nitpicking,” he says.

He often books a Rapido scooter taxi instead of a cab. “The only problem is when it is raining, and booking a bike becomes pointless. Also, the number of drop-off stations is limited and finding a station near your destination is not easy,” he says. The pros, such as convenience and economy, outweigh the cons for him. Rapido is also a startup based in Bengaluru and provides an alternative to cabs and autos. Though it has received flak from the RTO and traffic cops, they are on high demand among Bengalureans.

It is early days yet, but bike rentals are addressing the last mile connectivity problem. They hope more people discover their benefits.

Chor bizarre

The scooter rentals face a range of problems: vehicles and parts are damaged or stolen, petrol is pilfered, and finding space for docks is not easy. The companies are trying to overcome this problem by appealing to the government. Bounce hopes to expand dedicated parking zones: that, they believe, would bring in more users.

The services penalise users who violate their rules, but not all customers use the bikes responsibly.

How it works

Customers access bike rentals and bike taxi services using apps downloaded on to their mobiles or computers.

Rapido

You download and register with your mobile number. Book a ride, and the rider will take you to the destination. You won’t be requiring any documents to book a ride on Rapido.

Pros: Way cheaper than cabs and quicker

Cons: Safety becomes a concern as you are travelling with an unknown rider. There is no standard way for the pillion riders to know whether the riders are licence holders or whether the vehicles have proper insurance.

Bounce

1. Download app and register with your mobile number.
2. You are asked for a picture of your Driving Licence.

Pricing: For short ride: Rs 5/km +
Rs 0.5/min

For long rides: The price varies according to locations. The minimum distance limit is fixed at 12.5 kms per hour.

Pros: Easy booking and reasonable pricing

Cons: Many users suggest that some vehicles are in a beat up condition. Some even complain about the pick-up and drop location.

Vogo

1. Download app and register with your mobile number.

2. You should have a Driving Licence to book a bike.

3. Pricing: the base fare is Rs 15. Rs 3.5 per km and Rs 0.1 per minute.

Pros: Easy booking and reasonable pricing

Cons: Picking-up and dropping off the bike takes time.

 

Safety aspect

All bikes come with helmets, but some customers walk away with the helmets, and leave subsequent customers without one.

Insurance: All vehicles are insured against damage and theft.

Rapido has a provision for pillion riders to claim insurance of up to Rs 1 lakh for ‘medical expense for hospitalisation’ and up to Rs 3,000
for ‘OPD treatment’.

Breakdown: If a bike you have hired on Bounce or Vogo breaks down, contact customer care.
Charges for any damage that occurs while riding have to be borne by the customer.

 

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