Battery-powered bikes, introduced at Metro stations in South and Central Delhi on September 2, have found some takers in the city, with nearly 5,000 people using the emission-free bikes in just under a month.
Already operational in Bengaluru and Navi Mumbai, the ‘Yulu Miracle bikes’, which can be used by anyone over 16 years of age, can reach speeds of up to 65-70 km per hour. Buoyed by the response, the company, which has entered into a partnership with the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation, says it plans to expand the fleet, which currently stands at 250.
“Delhi is among the most polluted cities. I lived in Tokyo, which is many times the size of Delhi, but even there, pollution level is negligible. This is because fuel reforms were implemented in the 1970s, and their urban planning discouraged use of personal cars… In Indian cities, where new Metro lines are coming up, last-mile connectivity is lacking, which we aim to fill,” said R K Misra, the company’s co-founder.
Bookings are done through the Yulu app with Rs 250 as security deposit. After an activation charge of Rs 10, one has to pay Rs 10 for every 10 minutes. “A person has to scan the QR code on the bike, which ‘unlocks’ it… A full charge can give a mileage of 60-65 km,” said Ravi Kumar, a company promoter at Khan Market Metro station.
The plan is to expand the reach to societies and government offices near Metro stations, so a person can take the bike from one pick-up point, and drop it off at another. A GPS tracks the bike’s location, and there’s no time limit. The amount is deducted from the user after the ride ends. “We get customers at Khan Market, INA and Jorbagh Metro stations, where we have around 10-15 bikes each. Most come on Saturday and Sunday,” said Kumar.
Lakshya, a DU student who rode the bike for 7 km, said he first saw someone else riding it on the road. “It feels like a scooty, and its brakes work well,” he said. “If the battery dies, the company is alerted and the rider gets a call from them,” said Kumar.
The company, at the moment, doesn’t provide helmets. The bikes are available at eight Metro stations in South and Central Delhi, at INA market, Khan Market, Jorbagh, Patel Chowk, JLN Metro, Mandi House, Pragati Maidan and Northern Railway hospital at Connaught place.
A Delhi Metro spokesperson said, “DMRC strives to introduce last-mile connectivity measures at as many stations as possible depending on feasibility and availability of operators and aggregators.”
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