BBMP’s new plan for clean air: e-bikes at metro stations

Soon, commuters on the ever-extending Namma Metro need not worry about getting transport outside the stations.

There will be electric bikes at the stations, which they can rent.

Inspired by a similar initiative in a Chinese city, the mayor has said the proposal for the e-bike project would be placed before the BBMP council meeting this month.

“e-bikes would help cut down air pollution and also solve last-mile connectivity issues,” Mayor R Sampath Raj told DH, adding that the project of renting e-bikes would be launched in partnership with BMRCL.

“Were preparing the micro plan for this and will go ahead after holding a feasibility study,” Raj said.

In September 2017, the state Cabinet had cleared the Karnataka Electric Vehicle and Energy Storage Policy to encourage electric vehicle usage in the city. The policy has enabled the Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) to float a tender for buying 150 buses.

“I was in Chinas Sanya city recently to take part in a trade show. Local authorities there are successfully running e-bikes across the city for last-mile connectivity,” Raj said, adding that the BBMP would go through the Sanya city model before implementing the project here.

However, experts and entrepreneurs betting big on e-bikes say that the state has a long way to go despite having the countrys first electric vehicle policy.

“Electric vehicle mobility will not be such a big challenge if only the authorities plan it precisely,” said Tarun Mehta, CEO of the city-based startup Ather Energy, which deals with e-bikes.

But traffic expert M N Srihari dubbed the project a political gimmick and a waste of the tax payers money.

“This may be environment friendly, but the e-bikes would only add more vehicles to the already congested roads,” he said.

“They should use BMTC mini electric buses to solve the last-mile issues. Bikes can carry only two and would cost more, whereas more people can commute in a bus to reduce vehicle density,” Srihari pointed out.

He also urged the BBMP to think before implementing projects of this kind.

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