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New Town to get newer cycles

App-based service eyes march roll-out
PEDL cycles in New Town.
PEDL cycles in New Town.
Telegraph picture

Aniruddha Biswas   |   Calcutta   |   Published 24.02.19, 09:28 PM

The fluorescent green bicycles that were once a familiar sight in New Town have gone off the streets as the app-based cycle share service provider wants to replace them with newer ones.

PEDL, the app-based cycle share service started by car-rental company Zoomcar, will introduce new cycles in March.

“The older cycles were withdrawn in January as they had developed braking problems. Besides, users would often complain that the chain had come off the sprocket during a ride,” an official associated with PEDL said. “Unavailability of spares only added to the problem.”

Greg Moran, co-founder and CEO of Zoomcar, told Metro: “We want to upgrade the cycles... as we want to provide better bikes to customers. That is why we have temporarily stopped operations. We will give away the old bikes to charitable institutions and NGOs.”

Zoomcar had tied up with the New Town Kolkata Development Authority (NKDA), the administrative body of the township, in December 2017 and launched the app-based cycle share service with 100 cycles and 30 pick-up points.

The soaring demand for the service led to the addition of 300 cycles in a month. By December 2018, PEDL had rolled out more than 4,500 cycles, most of which were hired for a ride within New Town, and set up around 400 pick-up points.

Some of the most popular pick-up points were the New Town bus stand, TCS Gitanjali Park and Nazrul Tirtha.

Sources in PEDL said they had completed over 1 million transactions in the city.

Each cycle was clocking 5 to 6 rides a day, which an official in the company said was higher than the global average.

There have been complaints of improper handling of bikes by users. A mechanic at the PEDL repair station at the New Town bus stand said many users would dump the cycles by the roadside and beside bushes after a ride instead of parking them at designated stands. “Some users would even push the cycles into water bodies.”

NKDA chairman Debashis Sen said Zoomcar officials had told them at a recent meeting that the service would resume “in the shortest possible time”.

“They said they were facing maintenance issues with the existing bikes. They want to replace them with new ones,” said Sen.

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