Bicycle sharing seems to be the latest trend right now! With metro cities getting crowded day by day, these bike-sharing ventures aim to make our daily commute more affordable, fast and eco-friendly!
Throughout 2018, the number of players in this business space has been growing steadily. I mean, it makes a lot of sense! With the growing traffic snarls, trying to reach somewhere fast is often very difficult, and extremely expensive. The solution – Good Ol’ Bicycles. Nothing surprising there!
Like everything, India is still a new marketplace for bike sharing. Bike sharing is a big game in China and the US, with the Chinese bike sharing lion Ofo, and a New York based venture Citi Bike, taking the lead! With the ‘Make in India’ initiative, and a lot of support from the Centre, India is in a marvelous position that has made several homegrown startups to conquer this segment of the market. According to my brief research, the bicycle market in India is worth a whooping $1.2 billion! And the production? Well, it currently stands at 15 million units! That’s crazy, right?
Anyways, here are the key players in this space:
India’s very own cab aggregator and ride-hailing player OLA launched its bicycle sharing service called Ola Pedal! This venture aims to offer last-mile connectivity for students and working professionals in the vicinity of major college campuses, tech parks and other major institutions, where the “distances (are) not far, but too far to walk,” according to the company.
Zoomcar, the Bengaluru-based car rental platform, launched PEDL, its cycle-sharing vertical in Bengaluru’s HSR Layout. According to Greg Moran, Co-founder and CEO, Zoomcar, the ratio of population to motorised vehicles in most urban cities has reached unsustainable levels resulting in clogged roads, bad air quality, and reduced productivity. The company is looking to expand its cycle-sharing vertical across the city, and the country.
Founded by Amit Gupta, Co-founder of mobile advertising platform Inmobi, Yulu offers IoT-based bicycle-sharing solutions to resolve last-mile connectivity. According to Amit, the vehicles need to be scalable, and sharable for the overall cost of ownership to be low and the utilisation high., big personal vehicles should be replaced with smaller and efficient clean energy vehicles.
Yulu is an app through which one can rent ‘dockless’ bicycles. Implementing a QR code system, everything incorporates a digital modus operandi. A rider will be charged for every 30 minutes of use and at the end of the ride, he or she will be billed by Yulu, which one can pay through a digital wallet. Yulu aims to “de-congest urban traffic by providing a scalable, affordable, efficient and clean solution for the first mile, last mile and short distance commute”.
Based out of Gurgaon, Mobycy is India’s first dock-less bicycle sharing app, or as the company says an “Uber for bicycles.” Launched last month, the firm has already received seed funding of $500,000 from angel investors in the United States.
According to the founders, geo-fencing parking lots will allow users to pick up rides from the most accessible places. Users can unlock a vehicle by scanning a QR code using the Mobycy ap.
While the parking is free in the designated lots, if vehicles are parked less than a kilometre away from one, a customer is charged a convenience fee of Rs 25 for a bicycle and Rs 50 for an e-bike.
With all these home-grown startups, we are truly moving towards a greener future! Could this finally be the holy grail of our daily commute vows? It certainly has the potential, but then, only time will tell!
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