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Updated: December 9, 2012 09:32 IST
REINVENTING CYCLING

A winning combo in Delhi

Gaurav Vivek Bhatnagar
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NIFTY IDEA: Senior citizen Vijay Singh moves along on a bicycle rented from a cycle station on the Bus Rapid Transit Corridor at Chirag Dilli in South Delhi. Photo: Gaurav Vivek Bhatnagar
The Hindu
NIFTY IDEA: Senior citizen Vijay Singh moves along on a bicycle rented from a cycle station on the Bus Rapid Transit Corridor at Chirag Dilli in South Delhi. Photo: Gaurav Vivek Bhatnagar

THE SUNDAY STORY In all future BRT corridors being planned by the Delhi government, provision of cycle tracks has been made

At 65, Vijay Singh is as fit as possible. The key, he insists, lies in the amount of cycling he does. And the launch of the Cycle Sharing Scheme by the Delhi Integrated Multi-Modal Transit System Ltd. (DIMTS) on the Bus Rapid Transit Corridor in South Delhi has only nurtured this healthy habit.

“The coming up of the bus corridor was a boon for cyclists like me: it provided us a safe passage. Earlier, we had to struggle with the traffic… And then, by 2009-end, they also began providing cycles on hire and I have been availing myself of this scheme ever since,” Mr. Singh said.

A medicine supplier by vocation, Mr. Singh now takes a bus from his residence at Sangam Vihar and after travelling for about 20 minutes normally alights at Chirag Dilli from where he cycles to Malviya Nagar or Hauz Khas to deliver the medicines.

“I used to come all the way by my own cycle earlier. But now, I mix bus travel with cycle as I find this combination more enjoyable,” he said.

Another reason for him to opt for rented cycles, he said, was that “cycle rickshaws do not ply in the area surrounding Chirag Dilli. Be it Hauz Khas or Greater Kailash, you do not have rickshaws in the entire area.”

To get a cycle on a nominal rent of Rs. 10 for four hours and Rs. 5 for every hour thereafter, all that Mr. Singh has to do is deposit his voter identity card in original. “The option of taking a membership is also there, but I have not opted for it as some paper work is involved. Moreover, it does not provide any discount, and the only convenience is that you get the cycle without depositing your ID.”

Another thing Mr. Singh is particular about is returning the vehicle to the station by 8 p.m., for the night charge thereafter is a steep Rs. 100. The stands operate for 12 hours during the day.

The Cycle Sharing Scheme was launched to make the 5.8-km BRT corridor, from Ambedkar Nagar to Moolchand, “eco-friendly” and “to encourage cyclists as well as cycling as a concept” in Delhi.

The contract for maintaining the five cycle stations has been given to Planet Advertising. At each station, 10 cycles are available to the public. A wheelchair is also available free of cost for the disabled. At the stands, free parking facility has been provided for five cycles. However, as of now few use this facility.

According to DIMTS, the use of the scheme has been in the range of 60-80 per cent as it is primarily used for leisure by youth, especially on holidays and at weekends.

The maximum use is between 8 and 11 a.m., and the maximum duration of hire is 3 hours, which shows that people going to work over long distances seldom use it. On an average, 450 cycles are taken in a week.

Among the users, 86 per cent are males; 63 per cent are in the age group of 20-30; 54 per cent have passed class XII or higher, and 50 per cent own two-wheelers or cars.

DIMTS says 38 per cent of the cycles are used for going to market or service centres like bank or post offices and 30 per cent for going to place of work or college.

In all future BRT corridors being planned by the Delhi government, provision of cycle tracks has been made. DIMTS says that in the projects being planned by it, the width has been kept between 2.5 m and 4 m, depending on the volume of cycles at a given location.

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When Bus Rapid Transit Corridors are available, an alternative or a supplemental method may be more effective. Such buses should be equipped with bicycle carriers. Bikers can then use the fast buses on such corridors and use their bikes the rest of the way.

Likewise, local trains, and buses taking commuters from suburbs to cities may be equipped with multiple bike carriers.

Where people take their babies on their bikes, baby carriers should be mandated for the safety of the babies.

from:  Som Karamchetty
Posted on: Dec 9, 2012 at 22:48 IST
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