SMS & pedal to your destinations

Tired of skirmishing with autowallas? Fed up with fare charges? Weary of the long wait for buses?
From next week, Kochiites will be able to cycle short distances without bothering to return the bicycles to their original places. All thanks to a unique cellphone-based bicycle sharing system.

After successful implementation at the Trivandrum Technopark campus, Athi’s Bicycle Club is introducing the initiative in the state’s industrial capital, where traffic snarls, small roads and parking woes always pose a problem.

Any citizen can register themselves for free and use the cycles at a nominal hourly rental of `2. There are cycles for both men and women and five racks with 40-50 cycles will be stationed across the city for easy access.

Though the club was launched on a trial basis in May last year, the automation software co-ordinating the operations was just recently ready and will be inaugurated on Tuesday by mayor Tony Chammani.

“The aim is to help people pedal to good health while travelling short distances. The uniqueness of the initiative is that a person travelling from location A to B need not worry about returning the bicycle to A,” Athirup, founder of Athi’s Bicycle Club, told DC.

Anyone with a mobile can join the club without paying a penny by just sending an sms to ‘9645511155’. Members can take a bicycle from any rack and return it to any rack.

“All operations are sms-based (rack codebicycle-ID) and handled by the software. Currently there is a ban for SMS numbers but we’ll respond to incoming messages for sure,” he said.

Initially, racks are available at Palarivattom (pvm), Kaloor (klr), North (nth), Kacheripady (kpy), Padma (pma), High Court (hct), Menaka (mka), Boat Jetty (bjy), South (sth), Ernakulam bus-station (ebs), Kadavanthra (kva), Thevara (tva), Manorama Jn (mjn) and Vytilla (vla).

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