Toeing the lines of their Thane, Navi Mumbai and Pune counterparts, the Mira Bhayandar Municipal Corporation (MBMC) in an attempt to promote a pollution-free commute has finally rolled up its sleeves to introduce public bike-sharing (PBS) in the twin-city.
The draft proposal with three alternatives including public-private partnership (PPP) sans municipal funding, roping in private players with financial assistance from the civic body or sole municipal control over the PBS, had remained on paper since 2019. More than a year later, a resolution to this effect has finally found its place in the agenda of the general body meeting scheduled to be held via video conferencing on January 15.
The onus of providing the necessary infrastructure including tracks will be shouldered by the MBMC. Once the operational policy is decided, the civic administration will launch the PBS as a pilot project before gradually extending it at certain locations and then expand the coverage area, based on the response received from users and financial feasibility.
The technology-controlled system supported by dock-less infrastructure would allow commuters to hire pedal-powered bicycles on a rental basis in a hassle free manner to cover shorter distances in the twin-city, officials said. With dock-less systems, bicycles can be parked within a defined zone at a bike rack or along sidewalks. While the international standard is three trips per cycle, per day, the MBMC envisages four trips per day and a target of 8,000 cycles (at least one per 100 citizens) in the next three years.
Though activists and cycle enthusiasts have welcomed the initiative, they also fear it of becoming another ornamental project-cum-money spinner for corrupt elements who rule the roost in the civic body. The aim of the PBS is to reduce traffic congestion and pollution by limiting the usage of private two-wheelers and cars on roads and encourage use of non-motorized transport like cycling.