Mumbai gets its first ‘bike share’ programme for renting bicycles
August 15 marked the beginning of the Mumbai’s maiden public bike share programme, wherein citizens can rent out bicycles from the north eastern suburb of Ghatkopar. Similar programs have been extremely effective in fighting traffic woes and reducing pollution across the biggest metros in the world.
Kisanrao Gopale, who is spearheading the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai (MCGM) approved project said, “This is a small experiment where we are starting with 20 bicycles which will be operating across five dedicated depots.”
The Corporation, on an experimental basis, has allotted spaces for the cycling depots at five different places that typically witness large footfalls. Individuals would simply have to shell out Rs 5 per journey, which is lower than the usual bus fare or what one would pay for a sharing rickshaw.
Under the programme, a registered person can hire a bicycle from one depot and travel to another. The obvious advantages include lesser traffic, no pollution and exercise.
Some of the biggest metros in the world, including New York and London, have benefited immensely through such programmes. The programmes are also favored and supported by major corporates, who get branding space on the bicycles in return. For example, the Citi Bikes sponsored by CitiBank in New York.
Gopale also plans to scale up if more people donate their bicycles. The megapolis has a bad reputation for traffic and with sedentary jobs, involving service sector driving the growth, fitness is also an issue which confronts the citizens, he told PTI.
While many Mumbaikars have taken to cycling as a leisure activity in the last few years, it is not used as a means of commuting in the city, either due to lack of infrastructure or feasibility. In fact, the city has just one cycle track located at Bandra Kurla Complex.