CHENNAI: The new fleet of 1,000 e-bikes and next generation bikes was flagged off by City corporation commissioner G Prakash on Sunday. Over 250 people participated in the inaugural event that had cyclists taking a 7-km route from Egmore Metro Station.
“Residents are quite happy with the new bikes. The questions that we mainly got were about how long the charge will last. That need not be a concern at all for cyclists because once picked up from the docking station, it’ll last for 24 hours,” said an official of Chennai Smart City.
“Now, the cycles are charged by coordinating with electricity board officials. In the long term, we are looking at having solar roofs in the sheds where they are parked to charge,” the official added.
The city corporation now has 1500 bikes in 100 docking stations around the city.
On how the cycling campaign are expected to reach those who cycle due to necessity of livelihood, mostly belonging to middle class and those from lower economics sections, the official said various steps have been taken in that regard.
“The charges are nominal and everyone has a smartphone these days. Our app is very easy to use. We, in fact, want more people who commute to take up the shared cycling system other than those who do for leisure and fitness,” the official added.
The system is expected to be expanded depending on the demand.
“As a mode of transport, we have not used cycling to its full potential. There is a lot of scope to cycle in our city,” said Aswathy Dilip, a NMT (Non Motorised Transport) expert.
“Especially when it comes to e bikes, it gives people the opportunity to cycle longer distances even when they are not the fittest versions of themselves at present and irrespective of their age, because it comes with throttle,” she added.