Gurgaon: New bike-sharing app Mobycy grapples with thefts of bicycles
Less than four months after its launch, Mobycy, a dockless bike-sharing app that aims to eradicate last-mile connectivity issues in the city, is facing an unexpected hurdle — theft. The app’s administrators have lodged six cases of bicycle theft with the Gurgaon police so far.
According to company officials, users often leave bicycles in dedicated parking areas and they end up being stolen or misplaced. In some cases, miscreants physically lifted the locked cycles and took them away to Rewari, located 60km from Gurgaon.
“We recovered two bicycles after filing a complaint with the Gurgaon police. On average, we are losing two bicycles a month while clocking nearly 60,000 rides per month,” Akash Gupta, CEO and founder of Mobycy, said.
To use a bicycle, a user has to download the app on his/her phone, scan the QR code to unlock the cycle, and drive it to a destination within a 5km radius.
The company started with 200 bicycles in December 2017 and increased its fleet to 350 over time. The cycles are mainly located on the Golf Course Road, Golf Course Extension Road, DLF Phase-4, South City-2, Sector 31 and in areas near Huda City Centre Metro station.
A user has to pay Rs 10 per hour for availing of the facility and has to station the rented cycle at designated parking spots as listed on the app
Company officials revealed that on many occasions, users do not park cycles at the designated spots, leave it on the side of the road or near their residences, making these vehicles vulnerable to theft.
Gupta revealed that since the cycles are fitted with GPS, the company officials are able to track their location and determine whether it has been stolen.
“There were two cases wherein a user rented cycles from our parking lot and hid them at their houses. One such case was in Sector 31 and another in Sector 50. In both cases, the user denied any knowledge of where the cycle was and, after checking with locals, we were able to verify that the cycle was in their houses. After a few days, we recovered the cycles,” Gupta said.
In some cases, wherein locked cycles were lifted from a destination by a non-user, the company took the help of Haryana Police to recover them.
According to company officials, in one case, a man took the bicycle on a motorcycle till Faridabad while in another case, a rag picker took a cycle till Jharsa Chowk and was in the process of dismantling the vehicle when it was traced and recovered.
In two other cases, company officials found bicycles abandoned at a site in Ghata village and in a farm in Rewari but they weren’t able to trace the thieves.
Gupta said after these thefts, they modified the security measures.
“We have increased our surveillance on the ground and instead of simply relying on another user to pick the vehicle from the last parked destination, we have battery-operated and CNG fitted vehicles that pick these vehicles and return them to the original parking lots,” Gupta said.