Bengaluru

COVID-19: Bike rentals see spike in demand

In the absence of Bengaluru’s mass transport systems – BMTC buses and Namma Metro – rental vehicles, which hitherto were primarily filling in for last-mile connectivity, have been seeing consistent patronage under a relaxed lockdown 3.0. Their operations are also set to undergo some changes once the lockdown is lifted to cater to life with the coronavirus.

Yulu, which provides bicycles and electric vehicles, has been sending out surveys to its customers to get feedback on their preferences post the lockdown. What they are already implementing is increased sanitisation of vehicles, with a minimum cut-off of 24 hours.

“We are sanitising vehicles multiple times in a day and within 24 hours. Users will also be able to see a last sanitised time stamp. Users will have to put the vehicles back at the designated Yulu zones no matter what,” said Amit Gupta, CEO, Yulu.

The company has so far deployed 70% of its EVs on the road since last Monday and has reported “good uptake” because nothing else is available. It has also seen changes in the usage pattern.

“Earlier, it used to be from metro stations to home and office. Now, the average distance and usage time has gone up,” said Mr. Gupta. From their surveys, the company gathers that commuters would prefer availing rental vehicles that are able to assure social distancing rather than group mobility options.

Bring your own helmets

Another popular option, Bounce, is reporting similar demand. A Bounce spokesperson said there are more takers for scooters on a long term rental basis – 24 hours to one month – and is getting 2,000 rides a day at present in the green zones in the city.

“Our scooters have been sanitised with a particular disinfectant that is like a protection quote lasting three months, and can ensure protection against virus to the extent of SARS. We have also been getting this done for the Bengaluru police’s vehicles on a pro bono basis,” said a company spokesperson.

The company, which has been challenged by lack of etiquette from some users who dump vehicles in inappropriate places and steal helmets, is now urging people to bring their own helmets.

“We used to sanitise scooters and helmets earlier too. But now, we need to be doubly sure. People will not be allowed to share bikes, and only single passengers will be allowed. They are also urged to bring their own helmets,” he added.

Shared rides

But questions remain over shared rides, such as in buses and pool ride of cab aggregators. Ola recently announced that all cars will be cleaned and sanitised after each ride, and a flexible cancellation policy will be introduced in case the rules are not followed, such as drivers without masks. Customers are also expected to wear masks and sanitise before and after the ride, ACs will be off, and there will be a restriction of only two passengers, the company said.

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Printable version | Oct 27, 2020 10:59:33 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/bangalore/covid-19-bike-rentals-see-spike-in-demand/article31584232.ece

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