Bicycle sharing system known as “AmdaBike — The Public Bicycle Sharing System of Ahmedabad” was formally introduced in the city in December 2019 under the Smart City Ahmedabad Development Limited (SCADL) along with the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC). As many as 1,000 bicycles were deployed over three months and it began to pick up around September 2020 with Mybyk being the main service provider.
A new research by CEPT now shows that the number of bicycle users from bike sharing points grew 10-fold in the 20 months of Covid pandemic from March 2020 to November 2021. The study that analysed over 60,500 rides found 70 per cent to be for fitness or leisure purposes, not so much for commute.
The four-month research involving a survey of Public Bike Sharing System (PBSS) in Ahmedabad city covering around 450 users was done by 29 post-graduate third semester Masters in Urban Management students of the Faculty of Management. The study also pointed out almost 18,000 users were lost by January 2022.
According to Utsav Mishra, among students involved in the research: “Between July and September 2022, the students analysed nearly 60,500 rides, which was a mix of short and long rides across the city.”
Out of these analysed rides, 42,000 or more than 70 per cent were leisure and fitness rides. “These were zero displacement rides or rides originating and ending at the same dock,” added Swathy CV, the PG student.
According to the findings, “With workout spaces not opened for users during the Covid pandemic and even parks and gardens locked down, residents found a solution in cycling. This was witnessed majorly among age group between 16-35 years, equally among males and females.”
Among the concerns raised by the respondents — both who used and not used the bicycles — were the need to provide immediate assistance in case of breakdowns, accidents, need to keep well maintained cycles with adjustable seats, optimum air pressure and a good customer support, which can be contacted at all hours.
Bicycle provider Mybyk has around 300 bicycle stations in Ahmedabad with a total of 4,000 bicycles of which 1,000 are at Sabarmati Riverfront alone, says Shreyanch Shah, associate director of the company. Operational in seven cities at present with the largest presence in Ahmedabad followed by Indore, Kochi, Mumbai, Nagpur, Udaipur and Pune, the firm will begin operations in Mysore next month.