A month since the first phase of the public bicycle sharing (PBS) project started in the city, 76,786 rides have been recorded, an average of 2,742 per day. There are 1,250 cycles and 155 docking stations in use currently and each bicycle was used 2.19 times a day on average.
Chandigarh Smart City Limited (CSCL) officials say this is an encouraging start, with numbers likely to rise in the coming days, as the second phase will be launched.
As per data obtained from CSCL officials, the average distance for each ride was 7 kilometres and average time was 1.6 hours. Overall, it has reduced carbon dioxide from vehicular emissions by 1,34,375.5 grams till now.
In just under a month, the total numbers recorded are higher compared to when the Cycles4Change challenge programme was rolled out on December 10, 2020, with 250 cycles.
Between December 10 and May 31, 61,296 total rides were booked and 53,450 people registered to use the service under the challenge. The bikes were ridden for 52,067 hours and 4,90,368 kilometres were covered.
Calling the results encouraging, chief general manager of CSCL, NP Sharma, said, “With more bikes added under phase 1, we were expecting the numbers to go up, although we didn’t have any target. The second phase will be completed by October end and 1,250 more cycles and around 155 more docking stations will be added. By the end of the four phase project in 2022, we plan to add 5,000 cycles and make 617 docking stations, making it India’s densest PBS system.”
The project is being implemented and operated by the concessionaire Smart Bike Tech Private Limited, Hyderabad, for a period of 10 years on public private partnership (PPP) basis with no cost to the administration.
Vandalism plays spoilsport
However, It hasn’t been all smooth sailing, with 193 cases of vandalism reported over the last month. As per officials, mostly the front basket of the bike, its seat and pedal were damaged. Some residents had even taken six cycles home in Burail about a week back.
Sharma said, “These cycles are a part of the city’s infrastructure. Damaging them is hurting the city and is unfair to those who genuinely need them. We urge people to responsibly use this facility.”
There were also glitches in the software in the beginning while booking rides and ending them. Usage charges were stopped till September 12 due to this and Sharma said that now these issues have mostly been resolved.
Speaking about how to make the project more successful, Umesh Sharma from the civil engineering department of Punjab Engineering College, said, “Around 2,700 rides per day is a good number. Next, the authorities must focus on improving cycle tracks. At many places, the tracks have obstacles and aren’t properly lit, due to which cyclists have to drive on the main roads. This can lead to accidents.”