Over the past couple of years, motor rentals have become one of the new ways of transportation. Sharing cabs and bikes with co passengers opened up new doors of traveling. Not only is it eco friendly, but also helps commuting in a faster and cheaper way.
Adding a new dimention to that is Sanyam Gandhi. As a mechanical engineer, Gandhi knew exactly what would be a smart solution for people commuting during pandemic. His “Chartered Bike” introduced a new style of transportation where one can rent bikes individually. During the pandemic, with social distancing and isolations, this bike sharing concept brought considerable relief.
While staying in Germany, Sanyam witnessed bike riding and sharing to be a fun concept which was not just healthy, but comfortable and eco friendly as well. Once, back home in 2016, he wanted to introduce the concept to India.
“While I thought the concept to be a novelty, a little research revealed that Bhopal had already started planning it since 2012 and was actively looking for funding support for their bicycle project. We grabbed the opportunity and introduced 500 bicycles at 92 stations in 2017. The response was overwhelming and we soon launched the project in Ranchi and Surat with more than 1200 bicycles in each city”, shares Sanyam.
Technology at its best
With Digitisation going around being the buzzword, these bikes too utilize the best of technologies to operate. The renting system operates through an app called, ‘Chartered Bike’, available on both IOS and android. The app has a wallet which riders have to download and deposit a minimum of Rs 100 in its wallet, to avail the service. Once the trip is over, riders are charged from the wallet.
“We have also provided a system for unlocking the bicycles. Every rider will find the locking system near the rear wheel. A QR code is imprinted which has to be scanned through the app, once done the cycle will get unlocked using Bluetooth and the rider can use it. The time is calculated on the basis of the unlocking of the bicycle to locking it back. This helps in preventing loss of bicycles,” adds Sanyam.
In metro cities, accidents occur frequently and the increasing number of cars and buses makes commuting a nightmarish experience. Also women face a lot of issues while traveling in crowded public vehicles at peak hours. Individual bicycles give one the freedom of traveling comfortably and in a hassle free way. Also it will work well during the pandemic by giving riders the freedom to travel individually without the fear of getting infected.
Lights in the rear and front sides offering clear views of streets even in darkness make the bicycles safe for traveling. However, safety and security of the bicycles was a concern as public property vandalism happens frequently in India. To this, Sanyam has a strong response, “Our bikes have strong and secured locking properties. Unless one scans the QR code and uses the app to unlock it the bicycle cannot be moved or stolen.”
Sanyam has a grand plan of launching more bicycles in Kolkata after the initial launch of 100 bicycles for 22 designated stations near New Town. In the next stage he wants to launch around 400 more bicycles and set up new stations by December 2020.
Chartered Bike have received support from the Central and State governments. As a part of Smart City Mission which promotes Non Motor Transport, Sanyam and his team have received support for setting up required infrastructure, IT and apps.
“We have an introductory offer for Kolkata, where for the next 5-6 months first 30 minutes will be free for each rider. This will be challenging for us but a good way to promote the usage of rented bicycles. We are immensely grateful to the government for the support extended to our venture and believe that ‘Chartered Bike’ will soon be the new normal of transportation,” concludes Sanyam.