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World Bicycle Day: Commute by bicycle, pedal your way to good health

75 people use cycles while 1,274 have registered for service started by TMC

mumbai Updated: Jun 02, 2018 01:16 IST
Megha Pol
The rent-a-cycle stand at Koram mall in Thane.
The rent-a-cycle stand at Koram mall in Thane.(Praful Gangurde/HT)

With an aim to bring down the carbon footprints in the city, the Thane Municipal Corporation (TMC) started the rent-a-cycle initiative in 2017.

While residents had welcomed the move, a year later, on the occasion of World Bicycle Day, a status check has revealed that out of the 50 cycle stands promised by the civic body, only six are functional.

The TMC has passed the buck on the on-going road repair works and has said that the remaining stands will be opened in the next one month.

Sandeep Malvi, public relations officer of TMC said, “The six stands are situated at Korum Mall, Viviana Mall, Majiwada, Tata Serien company, Smt Sulochana Devi Singhania School and Vartak Nagar.”

Each of the stands have seven cycles; thus around 42 cycles are operational.

Every day, on an average, 75 people use the cycles, while 1,274 people have registered for the service.

“More than 5,000 people have even downloaded the ilovecycling application,” sid Malvi.

A reality check revealed that even these six stands have failed to meet the purpose of providing Thane residents with an alternate mode of transport.

Malvi said, “It is true that we will need a proper network of cycle stands so that people can have better connectivity for using cycles as a mode of communication.”

He reiterated that the rest of the stands would be ready soon.

“The work of building 29 stands is in final stages. The work was sidelined as we had prioritised the road repair work in the city for the last few months. We plan to open all the stands in a month’s time.”

The cycles are used mainly by families for the purpose of fitness.

Prasad Kulkarni, who operates the service, said, “Every morning and evening, there are families who come to cycle together. We see few college students or office-goers during mid-morning, who rent the cycles, mainly to reach the main highway. Most of the users are fitness enthusiasts who cycle for exercise.”

Read more: Arthritis pain, here’s why the cycle in the gym is your best friend

The cycle users have been demanding better connectivity and cycle tracks to make the service better.

NR Nakhare, 54, one of the cyclists from Vartak Nagar, said the initiative is beneficial to fitness and cycling enthusiasts.

“I have been using rent –a-cycle service for the last two months. I use it only for joyride as I love cycling. This is a good initiative, especially for fitness enthusiasts or cycling enthusiasts. I did not want to invest in a cycle and this service gave me an option to indulge in my passion,” said Nakhare.

However, he said that the cycle stands should be near the railway station so that the service is used as a feeder service.

“People will use it only as mode of transport when the cycle stands are near the station and other prime locations in the city. Moreover the city should have cycle tracks where they can ride these cycles safely,” he added.

Rajendra Rawat, 47, a resident of Tulsidham society near Vasant Vihar, has been using the facility since February.

“I made two smart cards for the rent-a-cycle service so that all my family members can use the facility. The cycles are good and maintained well. The cycle stand is a little far from my house, so I feel they should expand the network so that more people can avail the services,” said Rawat.

Status Check:

No. of cycle stands operational: six

Areas: Korum Mall, Viviana Mall, Majiwada, Tata Serien, Smt. Sulochana Devi Singhania School, Vartak Nagar

No. of cycles: 42, seven at each stand

People using these cycles daily: 75

People registered with the service: 1274

People who have downloaded the application: more than 5000

About Rent A Cycle

In the Rent a Cycle project, the corporation will provide 50 cycle stands across the city, each stand with 20 cycles. There will be 500 total cycles for this service. At present 100 cycles from a Japanese Company enabled with GPS have landed in the city. Residents can pick a cycle from their nearest stand and drop it at a stand near to their destination. The rate is merely Rs. 10 for one hour.