Chandigarh: Country’s ‘largest’ bike-sharing system affected by poor maintenance

The city, which claims to have the largest public bike-sharing system in the country, with an estimated 1,500 people in Chandigarh using it on a daily basis, is struggling with the maintenance and management of the system.

Set in motion in August last year with very high fan fare, the bike-sharing system has been plagued by technical glitches, poor maintenance, several issues of vandalism, which continue to this day.

Currently, there are over 2,500 bicycles, both electric and manual, at over 300 docking stations in the city.

This could expand to 5,000 bicycles with over 600 docks after the completion of the fourth and final phase of the project. The target is to complete by the end of this year.

Indian Express Tried to assess the seriousness of the matter. Opposite GMSH, Sector 16 docking station had only two cycles and Sector 10 market docking station had only one cycle with vehicles parked between cycles.

The QR codes of some bicycles in Sector 15, 19, 24 docking stations had torn seats, under-inflated tires and broken baskets.

Shobhita Kansal, who lives in the Government Home Science College hostel in Sector 10, said, “Only two cycles have been stationed at the Sector 16 dock in the last few months. Scanning both these cycles is also a tedious task as the scanner opens and closes randomly.

Awadhesh Jindal, a regular cycle user, said, “It is indeed a very good initiative. Strict action should be taken against the vandals. Any damage caused to the bicycle should be immediately recovered after it is detected. All technical glitches should be updated by the company in a timely manner for a smooth and hassle free experience.

According to a senior official of Smart Bike Tech Pvt Ltd, a Hyderabad-based firm that was given the project on Public Private Partnership (PPP) 10 years ago, at least 15 cycles per day and around 400 in a month are getting damaged.

The docking stations of Sector 22, 53, 43, 55, 39 West, Maloya, Dadu Majra, Ram Darbar, Kaimbwala are the most damaged. We are also running the same projects in Chennai and New Delhi where the number of damages is comparatively less.

NP Sharma Chief General Manager Chandigarh Smart City Limited (CSCL) said, “Network issues, software issues and technical glitches are being worked out on time by the firm. To save the project from vandalism, we are working extensively with UT Police. Seeking help. We have written to SSP to increase patrolling on the list of sensitive areas provided by the firm. It is also the responsibility of the people to use these cycles carefully and help this project to be successful.