KMRL planning to take up its public bike-sharing programme in 10 Goshree island communities

KMRL planning to take up its public bike-sharing programme in 10 Goshree island communities

Kochi, June8:Non-motorised transport in Goshree islands is set to get a big boost, with Kochi Metro Rail Limited (KMRL) planning to take up its public bike-sharing programme in 10 island communities in the region in a big way as part of the Water Metro project.

Work on the Rs 747-crore Water Metro project will be launched shortly, and it is likely to be up and running in two years from now. Developed as a feeder service to the Kochi metro, it will feature 38 jetties connecting 10 island communities, covering the 76-km route network.

“Road improvement and development of walkways and cycle tracks have also been proposed in the islands under the Water Metro project. The idea is to promote the bike-sharing programme in these islands with greater focus,” Kochi metro sources said.

The Kochi metro has already launched the bike-sharing programme in collaboration with Athi’s Bicycle Club in the city to provide commuters free short-distance cycle rides in the Greater Kochi region.

M.S. Athirup, founder of Athi’s Bicycle Club, said the club had evolved into a sustainable development model through branding. “Hence, it will not be difficult to meet the increasing demand once the bike-sharing programme is expanded to the island communities,” he said.

With the expansion of the bike-sharing programme, more players are likely to be roped in other than Athi’s Bicycle Club. When KMRL initially invited bids for the programme, there was not much of a response. But since then, things have changed, and there are a lot more inquiries, fuelling the prospects of more players.

Meanwhile, KMRL proposes to promote the usage of bikes by giving commuters the opportunity to win credit points for using bikes against a maximum set limit of 100 hours a month. These points can be redeemed through the Kochi One pre-paid card to be brought out by the Kochi metro in association with Axis Bank for metro commuters.

“The card can initially be used to gain entry into metro trains. But in due course, credit points earned through bike usage can be redeemed using it, including for shopping. In fact, Axis Bank has been asked to work out ways to integrate credit points into the card,” metro sources said.

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