*Picture courtesy .team-bhp.com

The aim was to encourage cycling by people of all ages and abilities, young and old, male and female as part of their daily transport, exercise and recreation in making Ranchi a smart city. With this aim, the app-based public bicycle sharing system was launched by the state Urban Development Minister CP Singh in Ranchi on March 3.

During the past three months, this app based cycling has become popular across the capital city of Jharkhand. Apart from encouraging youngsters to take take a ride in the morning, it has gained popularity among men and women of all ages.

As a result, the ridership of these cycles is 1,35,615 rounds, while the number of kilometers covered by the city’s residents is approximately 2.5 lakh during the past three months since its launch by the state government body Ranchi Smart City Corporation Limited (RSCCL).

The app-based bikes were imported from Germany. In the first phase, 600 bicycles were put up at 60 stations in Ranchi. Now, the green Morabadi ground where morning walkers gather every morning, these German-made cycles are used the most. 

Notably, fitness enthusiasts use them in the mornings and evenings as well. Most of them were students. “At any given point of time there are about 550 cycles which are either in use or parked at the dock in the city,” said a student.

Minister CP Singh appears happy."We want more and more people to use it as a means of transportation in the city. It is healthy for users and eco-friendly as well," he said. 

As it is, these imported cycles are taken to the workshop for charging. After they are charged they can be used for up to two months. All the stations have volunteers and guards appointed to create awareness and help customers. 

The cycles are fitted with a security feature, GPS tracker, a basket in the front, an LED light at the rear and adjustable seats. The parking stations are classified under three categories — small, medium and large with 12, 18 and 36 docks respectively.

In view of its wide popularity among the city residents, RSCCL is gearing up to launch the second phase. Toward this end, a survey is being conducted and the process to gain permission for building  docks at the marked places is on."The work will start soon", says RSCCL officer.

As per the plan in this second phase, 600 more cycles and 60 new stations are planned to be added to the project. The pro- user element of this German bike project is that he/she can use these bicycles by installing the mobile app ‘Chartedbike’. 

They are available on a daily, monthly or an annual membership fee of Rs. 30, Rs. 200 and Rs. 1,000 respectively. The first 30 minutes are free of charge for registered users. An additional rental charge of Rs 5 will be applicable for the next thirty minutes, Rs. 10 for two hours and post that Rs. 15 for each hour.

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