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Wednesday, October 20, 2021

Public bicycles stolen and taken home, vandalism hits Chandigarh’s bike sharing system

“One person even took it to his residence in Kharar. The company staff had to bring the cycle from there,” says NP Sharma, Chief General Manager of the Chandigarh Smart City Limited.

Written by Hina Rohtaki | Chandigarh |
September 20, 2021 2:45:30 am
At a dock of the public bike sharing system in Chandigarh. (File photo)

Public bicycles taken home, theft of mudguard, seats damaged, grip of handles stolen— Chandigarh’s public bike-sharing system has been hit by vandalism and thievery ever since it was rolled out across the city on August 12. According to reports, 193 bikes have been damaged and in, at least, four instances, officials had to recover the bicycles from the homes of the users.

“One person even took it to his residence in Kharar. The company staff had to bring the cycle from there,” says NP Sharma, Chief General Manager of the Chandigarh Smart City Limited.

Although the company handling the bike-sharing project can file an FIR if a bicycle is not returned within 24 hours of being hired, the company has till now refrained from doing so and have only brought back the vehicles.

Officials said that there have been several instances when the basket of a bicycle has been found damaged. Even the seat, pedal and lock of the bikes have been damaged by unruly users.

In some cases, the stickers on the lock and barcode were removed and the plastic grip of the handles and the mudguard stolen.

2,000 RIDES A DAY ON AN AVERAGE

On an average, the public bike sharing system is recording around 2,000 rides every day.

Since the project began on August 12, till September 9, as many as 76,786 rides have been undertaken and 1,22,858 ride hours have been completed in the city. A total of 55,536 people have registered with the bike sharing system and the riders have covered a total of 5,37,502 kms since the launch of the system.

Meanwhile, from December 10, 2020, to May 31, 2021, since the first phase of the project began with limited number of cycles, there were 53,450 registrations and 61,296 rides were undertaken during the period. The total ride hours stood at 52,067, while 4,90,368 kms of distance were covered.

Bike rides MAY BE CHARGED FROM TUESDAY ONWARDS

Since the company has submitted a report that it has resolved all the glitches in the system, it is expected that people may be charged for the public bike sharing system from Tuesday onwards.

Officials of the Smart City Limited had directed the private firm to charge for the bicycle rides only after the technical glitches are resolved and teething issues stabilised. The public bike-sharing project was launched on August 12 and since then, the users had been facing numerous issues with starting and ending e-cycle rides, opening the cycles’ lock and payments– making it was a tedious task for people.

Moreover, even as the earlier statements said the ride would cost Rs 10, the amount is summing up to Rs 11.80, including the GST.

HOW THE BICYCLE SHARING SYSTEM WORKS

The electric bicycles are said to be more user-friendly as they run on ‘pedal assist’ system.

The bike system is fully-automated and operated by SmartBike mobile app. Through the app, a rider is able to locate the closest bike station, unlock the bike, ride and return the bike at any of the bike stations. The facilities in the system include the network of docking stations, GPS-based tracking of bicycles, central control system with call centre, workshop, user registration, online fare collection and advertisement space. The project will be maintained by the private firm for 10 years.

SmartBike dock stations

The dock stations have been set up in sectors 1, 3, 4, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38, 39, 40, 41, 42, 43, 44, 45, 46, 47, 48, 49, 52, PU, PGI, Punjab and Haryana High Court, Manimajra, Sukhna Lake, Rock / Rose Garden and GMSH-16.

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