BIKE SHARE IN MUMBAI

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E
-
34: Business Rhetoric

Harvard Extension School

(NO COVER LETTER, JUST EVALUATE PROPOSAL)


BIKE SHARE IN MUMBAI

























PR
OPOSAL

NOVEMBER 17, 2010

Image courtesy
dykesandthecity

on Flickr

ZOHRA MUTABANNA

PROPOSAL

TABLE OF CONTENTS



1.

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

................................
................................
................................
.....................

1

2.

BACKGROUND

................................
................................
................................
................................
..

2

2.1

Advantages of encouraging bicycling as a serious mode of travel

................................
.....

3

3.

BICYCLE SHARING

................................
................................
................................
.............................

4

4.

MUMBAI BICYCLE
-
SHARE

................................
................................
................................
.................

5

4.1

Benefits to the Mumbai Metropolitan Region

................................
................................
..

5

4.2

Challenges

................................
................................
................................
......................

6

4.3

Cost Implications

................................
................................
................................
............

7

5.

CONCLUSION

................................
................................
................................
................................
....

7


ZOHRA MUTABANNA

PROPOSAL

November 17
th
, 2010

1

1.

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

Mumbai is in the midst of a transportation infrastructure overhaul
. Th
e pretext
of making
the
se changes

presents an
excellent
opportunity
to
integrate

bicycle
transportation into

our
overall

network

and in turn alter the entire image of the
city
. If we start now,
within the next decade
we m
ay

be able to
live up to and
even s
urpass global standards of livability and sustainability
. This proposal
establishes the case for the viability of introducing the bi
cycle

share program in
Mumbai as a step in this direction.

In many countries, bicycle transportation is burdened with the stigma of
poverty, being known as the “poor man’s vehicle”. On the other hand, cities

in
the developed world
like

Amsterdam,
Copenhagen
, Paris

and many others

have
made concentrated efforts in reviving this classic mode of transport
.
Today i
n
Copenhagen

and Amsterdam
, the biking capital
s

of the world, almost one third
of all city trips are made on bicycle
. The

succes
s of these urban centers
,
as well
as
individual interests in

health and environmental benefits of bicycling have
forced authorities in even traditionally car oriented cities to
incorporate

the
bicycle as a mainstream transportation option.
Across the globe
, government
and transit agencies, NGOs, as well as private entrepreneurs are using b
icycle
sharing schemes
to leverage the opportunities resulting from this new
emerging interest in bicycling
.
Closer to home, independent bicycle sharing
schemes have also
crept up in N
ew Delhi
and Thane.
The time has come, I
believe, for even Mumbai to take the leap and bring back the bicycle into the
heart of city life.



Figure
1
: Bicycle Taxi in Amsterdam
in the peak of winter. Image courtesy Ellywa licenses
under Creative Commons

ZOHRA MUTABANNA

PROPOSAL

November 17
th
, 2010

2

2.

BACKGROUND

Like many growing cities in the developing world, Mumbai
is home to a
population that grows
at
least three times faster than

the rate at which
the city
can match
its

capacity.
Undeniably

this
p
laces

an

increasing
amount of
pressure
on its

crumbling infrastructure
. With the geographic bounds s
preading and
Mumbaiites travelling
farther
than ever be
fore
, the pressure on high capacity
transit modes is
arguably the most int
ense.
Despite what the numbers on the
left indicate,

the fact that 88% of Mumbai’s commuters still use public transit
may also appear encouraging
from
the
perspective
of sustainabili
ty and
transport
-
related energy costs
.

In reality h
owever
, most commuters who have
the choice would rather commute by car.
T
he booming economy and the
availability of cheaper cars

have led to

a steady increase in

the number of
vehicles

on the road
.
With
both public and private transportation infrastructure
reaching acute saturation levels, Mumbai is steadily approaching its

tipping
point
.

Recognizing
the problem
,
public

agencies including the Government of
Maharashtra, Indian Railways, MMRDA, MCGM, and B
EST

have initiated several
transportation
-
related projects
.
Two new
public transit
projects currently
underway are
the
Mumbai Metro Rail Project,
and the
Mumbai
Monorail.

U
nderstandably,
both

the proposed systems are

high capacity t
ransit modes
that are
de
signed
to increase connectivity
within Mumbai
.
These
highly
specialized transportation systems
will also offer a higher level of passenger
comfort, and
will

thus

attract a large share of
affluent

commuters
along the
corridor
w
ho currently travel long
dista
nces by private cars or taxis
.

Interestingly, however, if we observe
the distribution of commuting distances
among all Mumbai households and
poorer households in
Figure

1
1
,

we

notice that
more than 40% of
all
workers commute

less than 2 km
, and
more than 50% commute less than 3
km. Among

poorer households, more
than 50% of all workers commute less
than 2 km, while more than 60%
commute less than 3 km.

These number
s compel one to
question

if there is an entirely unexplored
market of low and middle income
commuters
travelling short distances
whose commuting requirements are
not
being
met sufficiently
by our public
transportation system and who are
most often left to
the mercy of taxis
and auto
-
rickshaws.
An alternative
mode of transport like the bicycle would be able to address such requirements
most satisfactorily, if only
access

to bicycles

were easier.




1

Baker, Judy, Rakhi Basu, Maureen Cropper,
Somik Lall and Akie Takeuchi, (2005), “Urban Poverty and Transport: The
Case of Mumbai,” Policy Research Working Paper Series 3693, The World Bank, Washington, DC.

In the last decade, the demand
for public transportation has
increased six times while
capacity has increased by only
2.3 times.

-

MMRDA website


Trains with a capacity of 1,700
passengers carry almost 4,500
passengers during
peak

hours.

-

MMRDA website


Figure
2
: Average commuting distance per household in Mumbai

ZOHRA MUTABANNA

PROPOSAL

November 17
th
, 2010

3

European and American cities have already
integrat
ed

bicycles into their
mainstream transportation networks
.
For these cities, the health and
environmental benefits have far
outweighed challenges such as

extreme
weather conditions, sharp topography,
and questionable demand scenarios
.
If
the bicycle was given a serious opportunity to be considered as a serious mode
of travel in Mumbai as well, it would not only
symbolize the

ch
anging
perceptions of its citizens but

also

put Mumbai onto the global map of cities
working consciously towards a sustainable future.


2.1

Advantages of encouraging bicycling as a serious
mode of travel

The most commonly stated USP of the bicycle in cities t
oday is its energy
efficient technology. With climate change concerns gaining more importance
every day, this human powered mode of travel epitomizes sustainability in
transportation. For a city like Mumbai though,
where the per capita energy
consumption o
n transportation is
less than most global cities
, the bicycle need
not be adopted for its energy efficiency.
Here bicycle transportation

would

have the following benefits:



Space efficiency



these tiny vehicles offer the flexibility of cars while
occupying

less than quarter of the space of a car

allowing bicyclists to
never have to get stuck in traffic jams.



Pollution free



unlike motorbikes and scooters which also offer the space
efficiency, bicycles are pollution free. They do not contaminate the area
th
ey travel in with harmful fumes or noise pollution.



Affordability



the affordability of this medium makes it equally attractive
to the large population of low income workers in Mumbai
.



Improved urban environment



as observed in cities like Amsterdam
,
Copenhagen, and Berlin in Europe, and Portland and San Francisco in

the
US of A, bicycles lend a livable and humane quality to urban streets.



Reduced burden on public transit



bicycles
can
adopt a
big
share of
commuters
using transit for short trips

helping to lighten the burden on
public transportation infrastructure wi
thout increasing the congestion
or
pollution
on city roads.



Public
h
ealth
benefits



for an individual, bicycling offers not only mobility
but also the opportunity for daily exercise. The increase in physical activity
will bring about a better health culture

in a city
where young adults are
already facing the health effects of

their

sed
entary and comfortable
lifestyles.



Most importantly

bicycling

will help in reshaping the common man’s
aspirations. Today every
child aspires to grow up and own a car.
Glamorizing the bicycle as a serious mode will increase choices and instill
environmental

consciousness as a fundamental value.

Figure
3
: Chicago Bicycle Lane. Image
courtesy Mindfreize licensed under
Creative Commons

Figure
4
: Tourist using bicycle in Paris.
Image courtesy Associated Press, Lauren
Baheux.

Figure
5
: Bicycle Rush hour in Copenhagen.
http://www.juggle.com/copenhagen

ZOHRA MUTABANNA

PROPOSAL

November 17
th
, 2010

4

3.

BICYCLE SHARING

Bicycle sharing is not very different from renting bicycles from local rental
shops on an hourly basis
.
Not many years ago, s
uch bicycle rental shops
existed
in almost every community in Mumbai.
The main difference between such
rental facilities and
a
b
icycle sharing
program

is the scale at which they are
operated
.
Bicycle sharing
programs

involve
installi
ng

multiple
bicycle stations at
several different key locations. A user may be able to rent the bicycle from one
location, ride to his/her destination, and drop the bicycle off to another
location.
It is the operators who have to coordinate the redistribut
ion of
bicycles and ensure availability of the vehicles at locations with the highest
demand at that time.
Such schemes have played a big part in encouraging
bicycle travel in many cities, as
they

eliminate

the following

hindrances to
owning and riding a
b
icycl
e
:



Parking



for a space starved city this can be the biggest advantage of
bicycle sharing



Theft



bicycle sharing avoids the threat of leaving one’s own bicycle
vulnerable to theft



Maintaining the bicycle



bicycle sharing gives riders the freedom to ride
without being responsible for the maintenance of the bicycle.

A
Bicycle sharing
program

offer
s

an easy and affordable travel option


particularly for

short trips of up to 3


4 km.

These might include sh
ort

distance

journeys

to school, college, or work or the short distance to the nearest
vegetable market, or the last km to or from the nearest railway station or bus
stop.
As discussed earlier, more than 50% of Mumbai’s population travel less
than 3 km to
their main destination. From among this group, even if half the
population choose
s

the bicycle over taking a bus, taxi or an auto rickshaw
, the
bicycle sharing
program

will not only recover
incurred

costs but also bring in
major advantages to the environme
nt and public health

in Mumbai
.





Cities with successfully
implemented bicycle sharing
schemes include Amsterdam,
Netherlands; Copenhagen,
Denmark; Berlin, Germany; Lyon,
France; Portland, Oregon;
Toronto, Canada; and many
others. T
he implementation of
the bicycle sharing scheme in
Lyon, a traditionally bicycle
unfriendly city, contributed to a
500% increase in bicycle trips.
One of the most notable
examples in recent years is Vélib’
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throughout the city, Paris’s Vélib’
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歩kT⁩ ⁴he⁷潲汤.

Figure
6
: Bicycle Share station in Paris. Images courtesy

TCY licensed under Creative Commons

ZOHRA MUTABANNA

PROPOSAL

November 17
th
, 2010

5


4.

MUMBAI BICYCLE
-
SHARE

Two independent entities have launched bicycle sharing schemes in the
Mumbai
M
etropolitan
R
egion already.



FreMo
,

established by
Ecomove Solutions Pvt. Ltd only a year ago, started
off with five depots and 100 bicycles in Thane.



Cycl
e Chalao, a

similar effort by four young students in the suburb of
Mulund, rents bicycles to students at two depots


one at Mulund station
and the other at Kelkar College.


Alth
ough both these programs have started successfully and have been
appreciated throughout the media,
they have not been able to address
the
scale

of the region
.
MMRDA, as the regional planning agency has the
wherewithal to undertake
the planning for such
a
program

at the scale of the
entire region. A more meaningful planning effort will

ensure

that the
bicycle
share
scheme
s

not only help fill

the

gaps in the existing system but also

benefit

society equitably.

4.1

Benefits

to the
Mumbai Metropolitan Region

By
pl
anning for and facilitating bicycle sharing schemes, MMRDA may achieve
the following social, environmental, and economic benefits


the three pillars of
sustainability


for Mumbai:

SOCIAL BENEFITS



Increasing options for an affordable mode of transport

so as to make a fair
number of transportation choices available to all social and economic
classes
.



Encourag
ing a
healthier lifestyle
, especially among the youth.



Increasing the brand value of the bicycle which will subsequently help
dislodge the symbolism of a

‘car’ as economic progress.

ENVIRONMENTAL BENEFITS



Encouraging a pollution
-
free mode of travel
.



Reducing the

burden of short trips on buses, and environmentally
unfriendly taxis and auto
-
rickshaws
.



Clearing the way to re
-
envision our urban environment as more
inclusive
and intermodal.

Figure
8
: Cycle Chalao. Image via

i
-
initiate.org

Figure
7
: FreMo logo courtesy:
http://www.fremo.in/

Figure
9
: Mumbai Cyclists. Ima
ge
courtesy:
http://www.mumbai77.com/pag
es/bombay
-
mumbai/bicycle
-
club
-
mumbai
-
cyclists/

ZOHRA MUTABANNA

PROPOSAL

November 17
th
, 2010

6

ECONOMICAL BENEFITS



Increasing accessibility to locations not served by public

transit
, helping to
redistribute investment equitably throughout the city.



Creating employment opportunities

4.2

Challenges

Cities that have implemented bicycle sharing schemes have not done so
without facing some stiff challenges.
A few challenges that MMRDA would have
to overcome to implement the bicycle sharing program in Mumbai are
described below.

SOCIAL CHALLE
NGE




B
ehavioral change



In Mumbai as in other megacities of the developing
world, aspirations for progress have become synonymous with the desire
for luxuries
such as private cars
.
A

bicycle share scheme
would
thus
be
vulnerable to

the risk of being associated with
a particular income group
.
On the other hand

a successfully implemented scheme may also
be able to
bring about a
change

in

th
e

stereotype
,
which could result in people
recognizing the complete potential of

bicycle transpo
rtation.


IMPLEMENTATION CHALLENGES



Safety


Mumbai
roads

are
infamous for
low pedestrian safety due to

the
city’s rash driving culture
.

This has led to a psychosis of fear among people
about riding a bicycle on city roads. However, this challenge can be
o
vercome

by investing in education and awareness campaigns among car
and taxi drivers. Having to share the road with bicycles in
large numbers
may

also help to
forcibly
inculcate
respect among drivers for bicyclists.
Additionally, the dense network of secon
dary streets in the city presents
an opportunity for safe bicycle travel right away, without having to invest
in expensive bicycle friendly infrastructure. A
sincere planning effort to
identify and map bicycle safe streets for the public would be the first

step
in fostering a feeling of safety among people willing to ride the bicycle.



Theft and Vandalism

-

The first generation bicycle sharing program was
implemented almost 45 years ago in Amsterdam. This program was a
complete failure as most bicycles were
stolen or vandalized


two of the
biggest challenges in implementing this program even today.
Fortunately
,

in the last couple of decades
,

innovations in technologies such as
electronic user identification
,

automatic locking
, GPS

location tracking
, and
radio frequency identification

have managed to address most of these
challenges.
If MMRDA were to initiate this project, these technologies will
have to be studied in detail to determine which can be applied the most
effectively in Mumbai. The lessons lear
ned with the bicycle share schemes
in New Delhi
-

GreenBike and FreMo and Cycle Chalao in the Mumbai
Metropolitan region will also provide a fair understanding of the
challenges and potential solutions.

Figure
10
: Breaking social barriers. Odati
Adventures' Bicycle tours

near Horniman
Circle. Image courtesy NY Times

ZOHRA MUTABANNA

PROPOSAL

November 17
th
, 2010

7

4.3

Cost Implications

Bicycle share schemes have globally

produced benefits that have far
outweighed incurred costs. In fact, in the case of London
, as reported by The
Guardian, The Barclays Cycle Hire is “on course to become the only Transport
for London

(TfL) system to make an operating profit, just 10 weeks a
fter its
launch
.” The similarity in London’s and Mumbai’s existing transportation
framework compels one to consider the possibility that a bicycle sharing
scheme would be able to make a similar profit for an agency in Mumbai as well.

5.

CONCLUSION

In no
respect is the

task

of implementing a bicycle share program

in Mumbai
easy. But the benefits
of initiating such a system
reach far and beyond
just
added
mobility.
A bicycle share program

can
provide

accessibility to those who
cannot afford expensive modes
of transport.
It
can
provide a solution

to the
problem of pollution. It

can
provide a solution to increasing health
problems
among
citizens
.
And m
ost importantly
,

it

can
play a huge role in
chang
ing

the
way the world sees Mumbai.

It is thus that I humbly r
equest MMRDA to
undertake a comprehensive planning process to lay the foundation of a
successful bicycle sharing program in Mumbai.



Figure
11
: London's Barclay Bicycle Share station. Image courtesy

Charlotte Gilhooly,
licensed
under Creative Commons.