Fighting pollution and congestion is the biggest problem in any city. But Bhopal (the capital city in Madhya Pradesh) has fought it successfully by launching its unique bike sharing concept. Bhopal became the first city in India when it launched India’s first fully automated bicycle sharing system as part of the second anniversary of its much-talked-about smart cities program. In June, Bhopal had launched the automated bicycle sharing program with a fleet of around 500 bicycles. It comprised 12 km of dedicated bicycle tracks around 50 locations within the city where bicycles are placed and from where the customer can hire a bicycle using a phone app, which allows the users to register themselves, select a plan and pay for the same.
Developed with the help of WRI, the Public Bicycle Sharing system (PBS) involves a fully automated system of 500 bicycles with over 50 docking stations across Bhopal, backed by a state-of-the-art IT system. As part of this completely automated system, users can pick up a cycle from any of the stations and deposit it at another without worrying about returning it to its original location.
But now, other cities are picking up the concept of bicycle sharing following the success of such a project in Bhopal under the Centre's Smart City Mission for last mile connectivity and to fight pollution and congestion.
The Housing and Urban Affairs Ministry official added, “Bhopal’s public bike sharing program is setting a new trend in India. Bhopal’s concept is bringing back the bicycle as an alternate to private motor vehicle, not only contributing to user's health but to the environment.
He said there are around 30 similar programs being undertaken cross the country under the Smart City Mission, out of which about 20 are in various stages of finalising detailed project report. Over 25,000 bikers are already registered with the programs and one new registration takes place every five minutes, the official added.
“It has shown that not only bike sharing is possible in India but also that it can be fully automated and profitably run with minimum human intervention,” he added.