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Cycle sharing: Does it work in Delhi?

Pari Saikia | New Delhi |

Bicycle was the first human transport to be officially introduced in 19th century. Since then, this classic mode of transportation has evolved with emerging ideas, invention, innovation, design and technology.

Apart from being a mode of transport, cycling is good for health as it help burn calories and has environmental benefits. The more you cycle, the more you gain. Some of the environmental benefits are reduction in air and noise pollution, traffic congestion, save fuel and money too.

In view of its benefits, many have started taking to cycling and cycle sharing has become a popular concept that has garnered appreciation and been replicated in many countries now. The cycle sharing progamme first began in Europe way back in 1965. Since then over 1,000 cities in over 50 countries across five continents have picked up the public cycle sharing system.

At present, China has the largest number of cycle sharing programmes. Cities like Hangzhou, Taiyuan and Shanghai are popular among tourists and locals for having bike stations with clone to one lakh fleet of cycles.

What about Delhi?

Owning a bicycle in India was once a sign of great pride and status. The percentage of riders has significantly gone down. To revive this outgoing trend, cycle sharing concept too was introduced in India with support from the Urban Development Ministry. Mysore is the first city to begin cycle sharing system in 2009 in 28 locations. Then cities like Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Indore, New Delhi, Rajkot, Bhubaneswar, Hyderabad, Vadodara too followed suit.

Talking about national capital, Delhi in 2001 had 0.96 million households (37 per cent) owning bicycles, as per Census 2001. To give a fillip, Greenolution, a cycle provider company along with Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) introduced ‘hire-a cycle’ scheme at the Vishwavidyalaya metro stations in 2007. The number of riders is average.

“On a daily basis, we have 10-15 commuters coming to pick cycles from our docking stations, but the number is higher at the Vishwavidyalaya metro station due to presence of students and Delhi University,” one of the Greenolution members said.

In 2015, the first Public Bicycle Sharing scheme (PBS) by Greenolution and DMRC was launched for wider commuters in the capital. There are eight PBS stationed in eight metro station. The charge for using the cycle is Rs. 10 per hour.

“We have docked 20 bicycles each at seven metro stations and 27 cycles in Vishwavidyalaya metro station. The other stations are Neb Sarai, Dwarka Sector, Saket, Hauz Khas, Akshardham, Shastri Park and MG Road,” said Greenolution.

“As requested, Greenolution in two months is going to open bicycle sharing dock inside the premise of IIT-Delhi,” it added.

Delhi Integrated Multi-Modal Transit System (DIMTS) Ltd, a joint-venture company of the Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi, has cycle sharing stations along the BRT (Bus Rapid Transit) Corridor in the name of GreenBIKE.

As per a DIMTS document, GreenBIKE has 50-60 customers daily who come to take cycles on hire from their docks. They are given cycles for two-three hours.

Going by recent news, New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) is planning to build new 50 stations.

Interestingly, Unified Traffic and Transportation Infrastructure (Planning & Engineering) Centre (UTTIPEC) and Delhi Development Authority (DDA) are working on a comprehensive plan to implement the non-motorised transport (NMT) in West and South Delhi. The policy aims to install 400 stations with 5,500 cycles in entire West Delhi by 2017 and 590 stations with 8,000 cycles in entire South Delhi by 2018.