First, it was all about owning a car. Then, driving in congested cities became a problem. Subsequently, calling in a cab, proved easier and economical too. But with vehicular population choking arterial roads, lanes and by-lanes, where are we headed next? The answer, it seems, may be found in entrepreneur Arjit Soni’s futuristic vision.
“MYBYK is not a cycling brand. It is a mobility solution,” says the 30ish-something Soni. With his brainchild, he becomes the founder and director of India’s largest bike share system. Aimed at making commuting more accessible, convenient and time-efficient, this cycling-as-a-way-of-movement is poised as a fitter way to be, a greener planet for all and of course, a ride even for those who cannot afford a four wheeler.
The carrier has literal pit stops all over. And the system is simple. You purchase a monthly pass MYBYK for Rs 1,250 ( MYBYK monthly pass for Rs 499 and BRTS pass for Rs 750) you swipe it at these stops, own a cycle from point to point and return it based on when you do not need it. But what happens when it is long distance commute?
“Here is where Drop Anywhere, Pick Up from Anywhere was incorporated,” he informs, adding that currently Ahmedabad has nine such stations.
Laden with a cycle of possibilities, ask him about the genesis, and he unwinds: “Some seven years ago, I was working in Mumbai. Like thousands of commuters in maximum city, I too hitched the share autos to the local thereon, another auto to the office. Slowly, the traffic got worse and hit the point of no-return. Sitting in traffic jams sapped the life out of me, till one day I realised cycle was the solution. It was also a healthier life-choice because the grind left me with little time to walk or gym.”
Not wanting to turn to reserves from his father’s business, he met three potential liaisons. Two agreed and hereon, cycled the idea further. Just before the lockdown, he took a personal loan amounting to Rs 1.5 crore. “We were hit hard. There was no movement but when the unlock began, the path seemed better,” in his words.
Today, MYBYK operates a fleet of 10,000 plus bicycles with a presence across seven cities including Ahmedabad, Kochi, Udaipur, Mumbai, and Rajkot.
So are we ready to say bye-bye to parking woes, toxic emissions and the stress of navigating bursting alleys? Soni’s answer is simple: “We envision moving India towards sustainable commute solutions, one ride at a time. We aim to bring a micro-mobility revolution and look forward to an active collaboration with the government.”
Having met the Prime Minister, who lauded his effort, Soni shares that a proactive step from concerned authorities is all that awaits the next big thing…. MYBYK!!!
The day Soni got his first batch of cycles was also the day when his father welcomed an Audi car at their home. From day one, Soni was clear–bicycles over cars. The founder of MYBYK calls his venture a detour in life. “Everyone thinks of making money and when they climb in Maslow’s hierarchy theory they think of doing something for people. I just took a detour. I want to solve the mobility issue in Gujarat; something that none is talking about.”
Cycling-recycling-reducing and time-efficient. Are environmentalists also listening?