To peddle summer bike rentals, Chennai Corp can let you ride at night – The New Indian Express

By Express press service

CHENNAI: Just days after the city corporation saw smart bike rentals surge post-pandemic, summer heat has dampened rentals, prompting officials to think of alternatives, such as overnight rental services.

After a lull last year, the company attracted an average of 300 to 400 smart bike rentals per day in March and around 800 daily weekend rentals. It even hit 900 on a Sunday, the highest since the pandemic. However, company officials now fear that the summer could again cause rents to fall.

“So we are having discussions to allow rental services to be used overnight in a phased manner – first in areas like Pondy Bazaar and OMR,” an official source said. Currently, registration closes around 10 p.m. Additionally, the company is in talks with Chennai Metro Rail Limited (CMRL) for the identification of the location of 25 new stations to cover last mile connectivity. It currently has stations at 17 locations along the green and blue metro lines.

“We have already identified the locations and once that is done we will have all locations along the green and blue lines covered,” the official said. The company also ranks docking stations in various locations to study areas where the bike-sharing system works better than in other areas. Stations are further divided into “A”, “B” or “C” categories based on the number of rentals. The most requested areas are Marina Beach, Pondy Bazaar and Mannadi Metro Station.

“Especially during the weekends, these areas are in demand. People pick up bikes near Mannadi tube station to shop at Parrys Corner which is difficult to navigate on a motorbike. We see that the system is also gradually recovering in Perambur,” the official said.

The OMR stretch, which relies heavily on IT professionals in the region, is the least in demand, with officials saying those working from home haven’t fully started returning to their offices. Grishma Sampath, a 29-year-old software professional, said, “There are a lot of people buying bikes instead of renting. For me, the main issue is reliability. I don’t want to risk the cycle collapsing because we don’t know if it’s well maintained.

CHENNAI: Just days after the city corporation saw smart bike rentals surge post-pandemic, summer heat has dampened rentals, prompting officials to think of alternatives, such as overnight rental services. After a lull last year, the company attracted an average of 300 to 400 smart bike rentals per day in March and around 800 daily weekend rentals. It even hit 900 on a Sunday, the highest since the pandemic. However, company officials now fear that the summer could again cause rents to fall. “So we are having discussions to allow rental services to be used overnight in a phased manner – first in areas like Pondy Bazaar and OMR,” an official source said. Currently, registration closes around 10 p.m. Additionally, the company is in talks with Chennai Metro Rail Limited (CMRL) for the identification of the location of 25 new stations to cover last mile connectivity. It currently has stations at 17 locations along the green and blue metro lines. “We have already identified the locations and once that is done we will have all locations along the green and blue lines covered,” the official said. The company also ranks docking stations in various locations to study areas where the bike-sharing system works better than in other areas. Stations are further divided into “A”, “B” or “C” categories based on the number of rentals. The most requested areas are Marina Beach, Pondy Bazaar and Mannadi Metro Station. “Especially during the weekends, these areas are in demand. People pick up bikes near Mannadi tube station to shop at Parrys Corner which is difficult to navigate on a motorbike. We see that the system is also gradually recovering in Perambur,” the official said. The OMR stretch, which relies heavily on IT professionals in the region, is the least in demand, with officials saying those working from home haven’t fully started returning to their offices. Grishma Sampath, a 29-year-old software professional, said, “There are a lot of people buying bikes instead of renting. For me, the main issue is reliability. I don’t want to risk the cycle collapsing because you don’t know if it’s well maintained.

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