MyTrinTrin, an app-based bicycle renting service is reportedly going to be available in Bangalore by end of this month, reports The Times of India.
Note that MyTrinTrin is a Public Bicycle Sharing (PBS) system. Under PBS, bicycles are owned and operated by a government or its associates, for the use by locals or visitors on a rental basis. In Bangalore, The Directorate of Urban Land Transport (DULT) and Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) will reportedly launch the project.
The app-based dockless bicycle rental service will be available at seven areas such as Cubbon Park, M G Road, Trinity, Ulsoor, Indira Nagar etc in its first phase of the rollout, according to the ToI report. The state government reportedly plans to roll out about 5,000 bicycles across the city initially. The service will be expanded in a phased manner. Note that MyTrinTrin already operates in Mysore, has about 450 bicycles in the city.
App-based bike-sharing service in India
There is a sudden focus on bicycle renting or sharing in India. Beijing-based bicycle rental start-up ofo, which raised a funding of $866 million in March, entered in India early this year starting with Pune, Coimbatore, Indore and said it will soon expand to more cities like Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Delhi, and Chennai.
In December 2017, cab aggregator Ola introduced ‘Ola Pedal’, its own bicycle sharing platform, starting with college campuses like IIT Kanpur. In November 2017, we found out that InMobi’s co-founder Amit Gupta has started an IoT-enabled bicycle rental company Yulu in Bangalore, which is yet to roll out its vehicles on the road. In October, Self-drive car rental company Zoomcar launched PEDL, a cycle rental service in the country, starting with Bangalore, Chennai and Kolkata. There are some more players which are already offering bike rental or sharing services via tech platforms in the country, like Letscycle, Rentomo, RentOnGo, Wicked Ride– to name a few.
What we should learn from China
As we earlier pointed out, that bicycle sharing companies were hottest startups in China for last couple of years, however, those startups began to topple with shutdowns of Wukong Bike, 3Vbike, DingDing, financial trouble of Bluegogo, Mingbike, and many others.
These company are fell due to some of the following reasons:
–Lack of civic sense: People were parking the bikes anywhere. (Because most of the new-age bicycle sharing companies work via an app, and users simply locate the bike via app, unlock it with QR code or something, pay via wallet etc, and go ahead with the ride, and supposed to park at the destination). Apparently, that does not happen. People were parking cycles anywhere, blocking the way for pedestrians and traffic, and authorities in China found bicycles dumped in rivers, abandoned anywhere on land, hanging in trees, etc. Also, many startups lost their bikes because they didn’t have a GPS tracking device. Via Business Insider.
– Does not make financial sense: According to a story in Fortune, the business of bicycle sharing does not improve with scale as it does in case of cab aggregation or other businesses. Because scale ‘doesn’t create a much lower cost structure per unit,’. For instance, if Ofo gets more customers then it has to buy more bicycles. Also, since rentals are low, these businesses are either unprofitable or have thin margins. And, paying employees, finding abandoned bikes, tackling thefts (Wukong lost 90% of its vehicles to theft), etc comes at a cost.
– Competition, but no difference: The same Fortune story mentions that competitors keep on increasing, but it is very hard to differentiate the service. What different will you offer in bicycle sharing service?