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Varanasi to get cycling lessons from Pune soon

The move comes after the successful launch of the PBS scheme in Pune in December last year. Between December 2017 and March 2018, 3.5 lakh cycle trips had been completed under the scheme. What is more heartening to learn is that, Pune residents helped surpass even the global standards of places with PBS.

Written by Anjali Marar | Pune |
May 14, 2018 6:12:53 am
Between December 2017 and March this year, 3.5 lakh cycle trips had been completed under the scheme. (Express Photo)

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s constituency, Varanasi, might get some cycling lessons from Pune, as officials from the city in Uttar Pradesh are planning to emulate the Public Bicycle Sharing (PBS) scheme soon. According to sources, the talks are in the final stages.

The move comes after the successful launch of the PBS scheme in Pune in December last year. Between December 2017 and March 2018, 3.5 lakh cycle trips had been completed under the scheme. What is more heartening to learn is that, Pune residents helped surpass even the global standards of places with PBS. The scheme has become so popular locally, among students in particular, that five trips per cycle per day was the rate at which the bicycles were getting booked on the special app. The best known global rate of using a shared cycle has been booking up to three trips per cycle per day.

Within the first three months of introducing the scheme in Pune, the number of bicycles rose from a few hundreds to over 1,500. The Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (C-DAC) is one of the institutes planning transport solutions under the Smart City Mission. Pune is among the many cities in the country where the C-DAC is collaborating under the Smart City project for this purpose, it includes 12 cities from Uttar Pradesh.

Some of the other places that are likely to get guidance from Pune are Kakinada, Chandigarh, Faridabad, Dharamshala and Chennai. “The Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) is getting ready and under that, transport and waste management are among the two key areas where we are developing strategies,” said a C-DAC official involved in the Pune Smart City mission. The SPVs are being developed and would be used by the cities that have similar problems. Launched at Aundh, the PBS scheme was expanded to cover the Savitribai Phule Pune University, College of Agriculture, Jangli Maharaj Road, Fergusson College road, Khadki Cantonment Board and residential societies. A survey carried out under the Pune Smart City Mission said 30 per cent residents highlighted transport and mobility within the city as the most concerning issues in Maharashtra’s second largest city.

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According to officials of the Pune Smart City Development Corporation Limited (PSCDCL), as low as 19 per cent transport in the city is handled by public transport while 47 per cent is through private vehicles. Pune’s vehicular population recently touched 36 lakh. Mobility, either by cycling or walking, was recorded at approximately 33 per cent. “It is the only Indian city, of this size and population, to lack a Mass Road Transit System (MRTS). The first and last-mile connectivity from a starting point to destination still remains dismal,” the report states.

Rajendra Jagtap, the CEO, PSCDCL, said the civic body is chalking out plans to help Pune regain its tag of being cycling-city. “Work to lay more cycle tracks in the city is on in full swing,” Jagtap said. With an aim to improve and make cycles become the largest share of transport facility in the city by 2031, the PSCDCL has allotted Rs 10 crore for developing newer cycle sharing tracks, planning cycle parking, putting up signage boards and carrying out resident engagement programmes.

The plan aims to increase the number of cyclists in Pune, which is currently 3 per cent of the total population, to 25 per cent by 2031.

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