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Use bicycles at Rs 5/hour soon in Chennai

Hyderabad based ‘SmartBike’ seals deal with corpn.

Chennai: Soon, city commuters will be able to use bicycles between railway stations, bus stations or get the last mile connectivity to offices, as the Greater Chennai Corporation has finalised the service provider for the implementation of the much-awaited cycle-sharing system in the city.

The Hyderabad-based company, ‘SmartBike’,  has been selected after floating international tenders. According to Chennai Corporation sources, the Hyderabad firm had faced a stiff challenge from a Chinese firm that submitted its bids.

“Smartbike is going to inaugurate cycle-sharing system in Delhi on June 3, on the occasion of world bicycle day. We have asked the service provider to start the operation on the same day in Chennai. But due to pending infrastructure development, the company could not able to start,” the Chennai Corporation official said.

According to civic officials, the cycle-sharing system in the city would have 378 cycle parking locations and as many as 4,976 bicycles. As per tender norms, SmartBike would have to design, built, finance and operate (DBFO) basis for seven years.

Explaining about the rent structure, the officials said that `5 per hour would be collected from the users. “For every next 30 minutes `9 will be charged. In addition, users will have to pay Rs 300 as an advance deposit to avail smart cards,” the official added.

Apart from providing smart cards to seasonal users, one-day cards also will be issued similar to TAYP daily day passes in MTC buses.

Chennai Corporation and SmartBike are in the process in negotiating the charges to be levied. “Although the service provider is Indian, imported cycles are likely to be used,” the official said.

Chennai Corporation plans to set up cycle parking stations with smart locking system near colleges, schools, metro rail stations, bus terminus, parks and other recreational areas, thus providing last mile connectivity.

“To prevent theft, all cycles will be fitted with GPS devices. We can monitor the whereabouts of a particular cycle and who had taken the cycle from parking slot,” the official added.

A bicycle-sharing system, public bicycle system, or bike-share scheme, is a service in which bicycles are made available for shared use to individuals on a very short term basis for a price. Bike share schemes allow people to borrow a bike from a “dock” and return it at other dock in the city, as long as the two docks belong to the same system.

Docks are similar to bike racks, except that all the bikes are locked into the dock, and can only be released a computer located in a kiosk at one end. The user enters their payment information, and the computer unlocks one of the available bikes. When the user returns the bike, they place it in the dock, and enter their information into the computer, and it locks the bike into the dock.

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