Chennai Metro Rail has started renting out bicycles in its stations and hopes to eventually join the global movement to get enough green wheels on the road to reduce traffic congestion.
The plan has begun small with Chennai Metro Rail Limited (CMRL) stationing 10 bicycles in Ekkatuthangal station, and offering them to users on a hire system this week.
The commuter has to pay a refundable deposit of ₹3,000. “They don’t have to pay a daily fee. We want to persuade commuters to use this facility to go from the station to their destination and back. This will be helpful especially for regular commuters,” an official said.
If the initiative succeeds, Chennai Metro plans to put bicycles in other locations. A tender for another 10 bikes has been put out. “We have more bicycles available for our officials to use when they go on inspection. We are slowly trying to promote eco-friendly ways of travelling,” he added.
But commuters say locking up ₹3,000 is expensive for people taking public transport. Rather, they would like to rent bicycles on an hourly basis, just as the traditional hire model used to operate.
Narayan V, a 20-year-old commuter from Vadapalani said, “I wonder how many would want to invest so much. They should have the option to rent by the hour. Also, they should be available in all stations.”
Bengaluru, Delhi models
The idea of rental bikes was earlier launched in Delhi and Bengaluru Metros. But Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation (BMRC) found few takers, and has now introduced bikes in some stations that can be rented by the hour.
Chennai Corporation, which has a Non-Motorised Transport policy for the city, had planned a network of bicycle tracks in Anna Nagar in 2010, to provide a link to schools.
The project was shelved, but the civic body now plans to implement it after Metro Rail work is complete. Tracks for bicycles are to be commissioned also in K.K. Nagar near P.T. Rajan Salai, Swami Sivananda Salai and Wallajah Road.