Users face tech trouble in Chennai's SmartBike 'app'

Key issue is locking and unlocking and after scanning the QR code, the bike remains locked, but the app says it is unlocked.

Published: 05th April 2022 06:34 AM  |   Last Updated: 05th April 2022 06:34 AM   |  A+A-

Commuters say the SmartBike app is plagued by bugs, making it difficult to even lock and unlock the bicycles. There are problems with payment too | P Jawahar

By Express News Service

CHENNAI: The Greater Chennai Corporation introduced SmartBike in February 2019 in a bid to address city’s air pollution and traffic problems. However, glitches in the SmartBike mobile app is forcing users to opt for other modes of transportation. Glitches include issues with locking and unlocking, registration and payment.

The bikes are placed in docking stations across 109 locations in the city, primarily near metro stations. They all have a unique QR code, which one can scan in mobile phone to open the lock. After the ride, the bike can be returned to any docking station across the city.

"Key issue is locking and unlocking. After scanning the QR code, the bike remains locked, but the app says it is unlocked. We then have to call customer care to rectify the problem. Similarly, to unlock one must pull down the lever attached to the cycle. However, that too does not work," said Anand Kumar, a regular SmartBike user.

The New Indian Express had a similar experience during a visit to docking stations recently. Of the six different bikes at LIC Metro Station, five were under maintenance and one had the mentioned issues. When contacted, customer care said it was because the automatic lock ran out of charge. 

Situation was same at Nandanam station. Officials say the problem is with data connectivity and not the bikes. If the internet is slow, these glitches occur, they add. Also on the app, a few bikes show as 'already taken' despite being present at the docking station.

"After you scan the QR code, it says the bike is already taken. At times, even where there are bikes available, you will not be able to use them. This is a long-standing problem," said K Simran at Anna Nagar. There are also glitches in the payment process.

Major issues

  •  Locking, unlocking issues

  •  Payment doesn’t go through

  •  Shows as ‘not available’ despite being present at the station

  •  Faulty LED lights

  •  Errors in registration

  •  Time starts counting before unlocking is done 


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