Odisha: Bhubaneswar City public bicycle sharing system will have 1,200 cycles & 120 stations

Bhubaneswar, April 13: Good news for citizens of the No. 1 Smart City, on its foundation day. In order to fulfil its commitment towards facilitating non-motorised transport (NMT), the Temple City has done its ground work for the environment-friendly Public Bicycle Sharing (PBS) system, in which there will be 1,200 cycles and 120 cycle docking stations across the city.
While the city will be divided into four major zones i.e. educational institutions, heritage district, central business district and residential colonies, BDA, BMC and Bhubaneswar Smart City Limited (BSCL) will implement the cycle sharing project and World Resource Institute (WRI) and Bhubaneswar Urban Knowledge Centre will be knowledge partners for the same to make the city more greener and less burdened with carbon emissions.
Today expert in PBS system, Ivan De la Lanza from Mexico City, a well-known authority on the system, during his talk at the Third Bhubaneswar Urban Lecture Series, spoke about different business models of PBS, currently in practice, around the world.
Other experts from WRI and BUKC and senior officials from BDA, BMC, BSCL, Bhubaneswar Puri Transport Services Limited, engineers, planners and other domain experts took part in the discussion and devised the path, to how to go about for the project and provide basic infrastructure and technical know-how for the city-based cycle sharing venture.
It can be mentioned here that while world cities like Paris has a PBS sharing system with 4,000 cycles, London comes with 8,300, Montreal 5,120 and cities in India Karnal (200), Bhopal (500), Mysore (550), Ahmedabad (200) and Gurgaon have such system in place. Cities like Chandigarh, Vadodara, Visakhapatnam, Dwarka (New Delhi), New Delhi Municipal Corporation, Panaji, New Raipur and Bhubaneswar are planning to have the system in place.
Ivan, in his presentation spoke about how the cities in Mexico are similar to Indian counterparts and through greater political will, meticulous planning, public campaign and involvement of media the PBS system has become a great success in the Central Mexico City in which nearly 9 million reside.
Elaborating his points, the international expert from WRI Mexico, said “for Bhubaneswar there should be a clear bicycle mobility goal based on a city diagnosis, research and plan, segregated infrastructure network, making bicycles accessible to all through public bicycle share system and encourage multi-modal public transport and bike docking points for last and first mile connectivity. Also there should be a development of cycling culture, which would not only ensure better environment, but also fight obesity.’’
Comparing the project with the benefits of a public university, Ivan said “the universities immediately do not result in fiscal gains, but they have a greater socio-economic contribution for societal gain. Likewise, the bicycle sharing system may not be so lucrative in calculating the cash benefit ratio, but would enrich the environment in a much greater manner. During the last seven years following the revolution in the PBS system in the Mexico City, as per a WRI study, the city has reduced 2,789 tons of carbon dioxide, which would be equivalent to the contribution of 8,367 trees.’’
Participating in the discussion, BUKC Project Director Bankim Kalra said “in the Smart City proposal the city would have 120 km of complete street, which will have proper dedicated lanes/tracks for the bicycles. However, the existing cycle tracks developed by Public Works Department will also be used on priority to keep the process going during the initial phase.’’
Explaining the system for Bhubaneswar, he said “the proposed Common Payment Card under the Smart City Proposal could be used along with the conventional cash-based transactions for the sharing of the cycles and one need not come back to the starting point to return the cycle. A user can submit it at the nearest docking station once he/she reaches the destination.’’
Azra Khan of WRI (India) in her presentation said “the operating cost incurred by the service provider would be partly subsidised by the State Government. The operating revenue, however, will come from users, advertisement revenue from the rented space at the docking stations and annual cycle events by the operator/s. However, the sponsorship rights will remain with the government.’’
She also informed that for the Bhubaneswar model, while the minimum distance between two docking stations has been kept as 500 metres, in one square kilometre area there would be eight stations and coverage area of a zone will be around 15 square kilometres.
While the demand side of the PBS will consider elements like the trip lengths, land use, trip distribution and population profile, the supply side will have elements like road network and road profile.
The docking stations are planned to be placed in locations next to existing bus stops and all the locations have sufficient space availability. Importance will also be given to place stations near the commercial, cultural, educational, administrative, and residential and tourist destinations in the in the first phase.
During the workshop, among others, BDA Planning Member Sudhiranjan Mohanty, BDA Member (Enforcement) Bhabani Shankar Chayani, Engineering Member Ramaballabh Swain, PWD Executive Engineer (Design) in Chief Engineer’s Office Samir Hota and GM (Operations) of BSCL Binay Kumar Dash were present.

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