Following in the footsteps of China, India is also becoming keen on self-service bike hire. While bicycle sharing is by no means a new concept, (MYBYK was launched in the city of Ahmedabad 4 years ago, Cycle Sharing started up in Rajkot 3 years ago, Parikrama in Bhubaneswar 2 years ago and Trin Trin in Mysore last year), this approach has been growing in popularity recently. In November, Bangalore-based startup Yulu was the first company to launch a bike-sharing service without any docking stations, followed closely by Mobycy, which has been offering a similar service in more than ten Indian cities, including New Delhi, Pune, Bangalore, Chennai and Jaipur, for the last three months. In a move to make its service smarter and get involved in the green transport revolution, the young firm has now even incorporated electric-assisted bikes into its fleet. Powered by lithium-ion batteries, these new additions – currently only available in Gurugram and some areas of the New Delhi region – offer a range of up to 40 kilometers when fully charged, at a cost of 15 rupees (less than $0.25) per half hour, compared with just 5 rupees for traditional push-bike hire. Meanwhile other Indian mobility players are also getting interested in this new market segment. Last December, on-demand cab provider Ola launched a pilot project for a dock-less bike-sharing service, called Pedal, quickly followed by Uber through its partnership with JUMP, which enables users of the main ride-hailing app to reserve two-wheelers as well, while self-drive car rental firm Zoomcar has launched its own cycle-sharing service called PEDL. All this is clear evidence that multimodal transport is now gaining ground in India, with first- and last-mile solutions growing in number, and that Indian entrepreneurs are working to combat road congestion and urban pollution. Foreign businesses are showing interest as well: Chinese giant ofo, whose ten million hired bikes all over the world take users on 32 million journeys every day, has also now entered the Indian market.
By Marie-Eléonore Noiré