After introducing its bicycle sharing concept in the tech city of Hyderabad in December last year, Hyderabad-based Smartbike Mobility inaugurated its first bicycle station in the national capital on the occasion of World Bicycle Day on June 3.
The company, which is an arm of Germany’s ‘Nextbike’, has brought in the technology to enter into the Public Bike Sharing (PBS) arena in India from its home turf, and manufactures these pedalled bicycles in the city of Hyderabad.
Where it had won a bid to set up a PBS system in New Delhi in 2017, the company has already made inroads into the shared bicycle concept in Hyderabad, collaborating with Hyderabad Metro and having over 10,000 bicycles running and 500 bike stations in place in the city. The PBS concept is aimed at offering last-mile connectivity solution to the general public, and encouraging more use of public transportation.
Leveraging mobile technology
The Smartbike bicycles can be rented on an hourly basis all through a mobile application, with a user being able to check the availability of a bike in his or her vicinity with the help of the GPS sensor mounted on each bike. After entering the unique bicycle number into the app, the user receives an OTP on his or her mobile phone, which, when fed into the mini bike computer through the small keypad fitted at the rear of the bike, unlocks it from the station.
While ride for the first half-an-hour is free, the user will be charged Rs 10 for every subsequent 30 minutes, and all payment transactions will be facilitated digitally through the application itself.
The single-seat bicycles come equipped with front- and rear-LED safety lights driven by a wheel dynamo, as well as a gear system to allow for convenient riding at varying speeds.
The first of the Smartbike stations has been inaugurated at the heart of the capital at Connaught Place in New Delhi, and the company will set up 50 such stations at handpicked locations through the city, with each station holding 10 bikes. The bike stations will be made open to public by July.
Smartbike Mobility also aims to quickly expand to Chennai, Chandigarh and gradually to other key cities in the country.