Surat: Come October , Surtis will have more than 600 modern bicycles at their disposal for last mile connectivity in the city. After the completion of pilot project on eco-friendly non-motorised transport, the civic body will be setting up 40 bicycle stands in different parts of the city allowing people to ride bicycles to their desired destinations.
For example, a commuter travelling to Mughal Sarai and Chowk Bazaar daily from Navsari will be able to take advantage of non-motorised transport for free. He will have to take a bicycle from Surat railway station and pedal down 2.2 kilometre to reach Chowk Bazaar, leave the bicycle at the cycle stand there and proceed to his destination. At present, the commuters pay at least Rs 20 for travelling both ways in auto rickshaw between Chowk Bazaar and Railway station. Not only will this amount be saved, but because of the non-motorised transportation facility, pollution too will be reduced.
The cycles will be free for every citizen for the first 30 minutes and then charged nominally.
“A container of 600 modern bicycles will be despatched by the end of September. However, the bicycle sharing project will be launched in October,” said deputy commissioner, Rajesh Pandya.
Surat with two wheeler population of about 25 lakh can be one of the most successful spot for such sharing bicycle project . SMC plans to convert at least a lakh of these two-wheeler users for the last mile connectivity in the next two years.
The public bike sharing system, PBS, is very popular in about 300 cities of world including major cities of China, New York, London, Oslo , Barcelona and others. In India it is operational at Mysore in Karnataka only.
Although in Gujarat, the non-motorised transport sharing has not been very successful, chances of its success in cities like Surat is considered as possible by transport experts.
“With first half an hour ride being free, majority of the labour class would be able to use this mode of transport,” said Prof Gaurang Joshi of Transportation Systems department, SVNIT.
With minimization of other modes of public transport plying on this road, public bike sharing project would do wonders on this road as people would resort to cycling down the last mile than walk to their destinations, Joshi added.