Public bike share programmes, which helped major cities around the world fight traffic problems and reduce pollution, made a debut on Monday, August 15, in Mumbai with a project to rent out bicycles starting in the north eastern suburb of Ghatkopar.
“This is a small experiment where we are starting with 20 bicycles which will be operating across five dedicated depots,” Kisanrao Gopale, the man behind the project supported by the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai said.
The Corporation has given space for the cycling depots at five different places witnessing large footfalls on an experimental basis. People will have to pay Rs. 5 per journey, which is less than bus transport and also the “share rickshaws” unique to the city.
Under the programme, a registered person can hire out a bicycle from a depot and go to another. It helps fight traffic snarls, is pollution free and also makes the person more fit.
Major cities in the world, including New York and London have benefited immensely through such programmes. These are supported by major corporates who get branding space on the bicycle in return, Gopale said.
Appealing the people to donate bicycles, Gopale said he would like this experiment to be scaled up.
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 said.
In the last few years, even though cycling has grown as a leisure activity, the city is yet to benefit from it as most journeys are conducted via carbon-emitting vehicles.
Apart from a largely unused cycle track in Bandra Kurla Complex, a fast emerging business district which the state wants to convert into a notified international finance centre, there is little cycling infrastructure in the city, Gopale added.