On November 30, something quite unusual happened in the road leading from Vile Parle station to the NM College complex. For two hours during the day, students pedalled back and forth on bicycles. The initiative was part of the ‘Rent Karo Ride Karo’ pilot project initiated by students of NMIMS University’s Balwant Sheth School of Architecture.
For this inexpensive, alternative transport model involving renting, riding and returning bikes, the student team Mool-a-Roop, consisting of 4 architecture students, jointly won the Transform Urban India National Student Challenge conducted by the Indian Institute for Human Settlements (IIHS) in Bangalore. They shared the first prize with Team Kumej, also from the same college. The winners were declared on Thursday.
The model, premised on renting, riding and returning bikes aims at creating a public transport alternative at a low cost.
“We proposed the transport model that can be multiplied at various places,” said Anirudhan Iyengar, 21, one of the team members. “We saw that students found the daily commute to the station difficult because of high auto fares and fewer autos.”
The team docked bikes at the 2 locations and then charged Rs4 per rental use for every trip. In their pilot, they used eight bikes over a two-hour period and earned Rs336.
Both the winning projects will get Rs3,00,000 each as the prize and help from IIHS to implement their projects. The other project, which jointly won the first prize created a collapsible table-cum-chair for students from poor families.
“We saw that children in balwadis and low-income schools would sit on the floor regardless of the nature of the surface,” said Vishesh Khetawat, 21, a team member.
“The idea started from there. We wanted to design something for small children to carry out their activities.”
The prototype was created from locally sourced materials such as scrap foam with an aluminium frame. It’s very light so that the children (the target group is between six and 10 years) can carry it around and is about 35cm by 35cm in dimensions. The chair is collapsible too and took three months to design from start to finish, at a cost of Rs400. The group estimates that with mass production the cost can be driven down to Rs290.