Chandigarh: Phase 2 of bicycle sharing project faces delay
The second phase of the public bicycle sharing (PBS) project in Chandigarh is facing a delay in launch.
Chief general manager of CSCL, NP Sharma, said, “This is due to difficulties in procurement. The same company is implementing the PBS system in other cities of the country and due to this, demand of cycles is very high. The launch of the second phase is likely to be delayed by one to two months.” Sharma added that they have already been able to add 400 more cycles and procured parts for more docking stations and the project is going forward as planned.
The bicycle sharing project will be launched in four phases. The first phase was launched in August with 1,250 smart cycles and 155 docking stations. The second phase also plans to add 1,250 more smart cycles and 155 more docking stations. By the end of the fourth phase, which is scheduled to be completed sometime in 2022, the project envisions a total of 5,000 cycles and 617 docking stations, making it the densest PBS system of India.
Meanwhile, road safety experts are calling for the administration to improve the quality of cycle tracks and build more cycle tracks in the southern parts of the city. The recently released Road Safety in Chandigarh 2020 report points out how the percentage of cyclist fatalities in 2020 was the highest in the past five years.
The initial popularity of the system is also dipping. In the first month after its launch, there were an average of 2,742 rides a day. The statistics now indicate that the average number of rides has come down to 1,733 per day. Due to technical glitches earlier, rides were being booked for free, but from September 21 onwards, ₹10 plus GST is being charged per half an hour after which numbers have started coming down.
Till date 1,27,469 rides have been booked and 9,94,258.2 kilometres have been covered, bringing the average length per trip to 7.8 kilometers per trip. There are 1,19,577 registered users on the SmartBike app. While officials didn’t share data related to vandalism of these smart cycles, it can be seen at many station that their handles or baskets are damaged. As many as 193 cases of vandalism had reported in the first month of the project, with incidents where some people had also tried to steal these cycles and take them home.
The project is being implemented and operated by the concessionaire M/s Smart Bike Tech Private Limited, Hyderabad, for a period of 10 years on public private partnership (PPP) basis with no cost to the administration