Chennai offers a slew of transportation options for its citizens. The MRTS network that serves as a key connection with the suburbs, the swanky Metro rail that now connects large parts of the city and the well-networked bus system play an important role when it comes to commuting within the city. In addition to this, Chennai has a large number of private vehicles, with two-wheelers topping the list. As a result, the city grapples with congestion, lack of parking space and issues such as air pollution from vehicular emissions.
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With the aim of curbing the ill-effects of rising personal vehicle numbers and enabling last mile connectivity with public transport, the city launched a bike-sharing system under the Smart City Mission. With the initial pilot in six locations proving the demand for ‘smart-bikes’, the project was expanded to reach a total of 51 live locations in the months that followed.
The smart-bikes are positioned at places that see high foot traffic, such as Pondy Bazaar, Anna Nagar, along the Marina beach and at Metro stations across the city. The bikes are docked at docking stations and can be rented through an app on an hourly or daily basis. With more and more riders taking to smart-bikes, there are plans in the pipeline for the launch of e-bikes across the city as well.
In this interview, Raj Cherubal, CEO of Chennai Smart City Limited, speaks of the reasons behind the introduction of Smart Bikes and the response from the public. He also addresses concerns regarding the nature of the smart bikes that restrict access to smartphone users.
In addition to this, he delves into the elaborate plans for a parking management system mooted to be rolled out across the city. The proposed system will impose tariffs for street parking and allow vehicle owners to book slots for parking across the city. Users will be levied charges depending on the location and duration. This system will in turn yield revenue for the civic body by monetising public parking, which has largely been free until now.
Watch our video to find out more about the plans for smart bikes, e-bikes and parking management.
[Interviewed by Laasya Shekhar]