Metro launches revamped cycle sharing project

05KI-BICYCLES

The Hindu | Staff Reporter | May 8, 2018

50 cycles at 8 stations; free biking up to 100 hours a month

It may have misfired in the first attempt, but that hasn’t stopped Kochi Metro Rail Limited (KMRL) from re-launching the Public Bike Sharing (PBS), one of its key non-motorised transport initiatives, centred around metro stations.

KMRL managing director A.P.M. Mohammed Hanish launched the revamped PBS at the parking ground of M.G. Road metro station here on Monday.

Kochi One card

The project is being implemented by Athi’s Bicycle Club under the Kochi One pre-paid card brought out by Kochi metro in association with Axis Bank for metro commuters. To begin with, the benefit of PBS will be available in eight metro stations between M.G. Road and Edappally. Fifty bicycles have been deployed at cycle racks along these stations. Free biking up to 100 hours will be available to users during a month after which a nominal fee will be charged.

KMRL is considering the distribution of various benefits, including free metro tickets, to regular patrons of cycles. Members can just pick up the bike from any rack by texting the rack and bicycle code to the number 96455-11155 upon which they will receive a code for unlocking the cycle. Similarly, an SMS should be sent to the number 97440-11777 on returning the cycle.

Cycles can be returned at any of the eight racks irrespective of the rack from which it was taken. New members will be asked for their name, address, e-mail and profession before they are sent the code.

Alerts will be sent to the registered mobile numbers of users who fail to return the cycle even after 24 hours. Registration of members who deliberately delays the return of the bikes will be suspended and the mobile number concerned would be blacklisted. Compensation will be recovered from users who damage cycles.

Menaka rack

Last year, 30 cycles were deployed at bike racks set up at Menaka (opposite Taj Gateway Hotel and near KTDC reception centre); South railway station – Vivekananda Road (next to station entrance); North railway station (under North bridge); and Kaloor-Kadavanthra road. The bike rack at Menaka turned out to be the most popular point with most number of movements logged there. Though the project evoked a good response in the first three months, it tailed off thereafter. The rack at Menaka has been retained while the ones at Kaloor and North have been moved to the nearby metro stations.

Athi’s Bicycle Club founder M.S. Athirup, and Centre for Public Policy Research chairman D. Dhanuraj attended the function.

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