BENGALURU: Sultan, a vendor near one of the PBS stations in Sanjayanagar says that if one does not come soon enough, they might find all 20 cycles already taken by residents from the PBS station.
“It is very popular. People drive up till here, park their cars and bikes to take the cycles for a ride. There are many who use it for hours, as a fun activity. I too rented it out for three hours one day, though I did not need to go anywhere,” Sultan says, adding, “Between 4-5pm, lots of women come and use the cycles. The basket helps when they need to go shopping or buy groceries. The demand is so high that people leave disappointed when they don’t get a cycle at the station.”
For a city that sees more patrons for motorised transport, PBS is breaking the trend and starting a new one. As of now, it is there only in HSR Layout and IISc campus, apart from Sanjayanagar. One of the reasons it has caught the attention of Bengalureans is its affordability. “For Rs 2 an hour, it means we are just spending Rs 48 for the whole day,” says Swarajit Manna, who finds that the ease of dropping it off at any other station is an added benefit.
“I grew up in Kolkata and found cycling more popular there. It has just begun in Bengaluru. People rent them for fun and use them for 24 hours. I take it to travel from home to work, and just keep it for longer in case I want to ride around for leisure,” Swarajit says.
’Cyclists from 18 to 50+’
Brijesh, Country head for PEDL, part of the Zoom Car, tells City Express that their pilot has been successful in Sanjayanagar and they intend to retain it for a long time.
“We have observed the different kinds of people that use it and their use cases.The age group is fairly wide, starting from 18 and 20, going upto 50 plus. Those above 40 use it for leisure, health benefits, usually early in the morning. The youngsters use it as an alternate mode of transport,” Brijesh
“The younger patrons use it instead of hailing autos or cabs, they use it to go from point A to B, run errands, go to the gym, cycle together on a joint track with friends and buy groceries. The basket is fairly useful in that sense,” Brijesh adds.
The numbers speak for itself
There are 5-7 rides per cycle, per day, in a PBS station, in Sanjayanagar. There are 4-5 rides per cycle, everyday in the 400 acres green IISc campus, useful for students and faculty to get around.
“HSR Layout was our first area and the users are regular now. The stations are spread across 40 locations, with 2-3 rides per cycle in a day. The customers give regular feedback, especially about locations. With the good response in Sanjayanagar, we will expand the number of stations from the 7-8 available now,” he says.
Over 70-100 cycles are available in Sanjayanagar and one can spot the green coloured, QR code enabled cycles parked in front of shops, supermarkets, playgrounds, movie theatres and even temples. In comparison to Pune, where the cycle culture has picked up already at 6-7 rides per cycle across the city, Bengaluru shows promise of coming close.