Public Bicycle Share System

सार्वजनिक सायकल व्यवस्था Marathi button

One of the components of the proposed Cycle Plan for Pune is a Public Bicycle Share system. What is a Public Bicycle Share System? How does it work? Read on … 

Public Bicycle Sharing (PBS) is a term for the use of bicycles on a need basis for short trips without having to own one.

Users can check out a cycle from any cycle station at any time of the day, use it to go anywhere they want to, and then return it to any cycle station located nearby their destination.PBS process

PBS SPOTS.jpgSuch stations are usually placed near popular destinations, BRT or other bus stops, train stations, and other areas where errands or journeys close by can be easily made on a cycle. Depending on the size of the city, a PBS may have several hundred to a few thousand bicycles and there may be a few hundred bicycle stations across the city.

A smart card linked to the PBS, or a cell phone application developed for the PBS, credit card or any other form of identification is used for registering a user as a member of the PBS.
PBS for Rent

The bicycles are specially designed to be easy to ride for both women and men of different heights, sturdy, with mechanisms to prevent theft and vandalism, and with space for branding for easy identification and advertising which helps off-set the cost of hiring cycles.

Bicycle sharing systems are operational in over 200 cities around the world such as in LondonNew York, Washington DC, Paris, Shanghai, Hangzhou (video), Toronto, Montreal, Barcelona etc.  (You can read an article about the top bicycle sharing systems in the world.)

Cycle sharing provides an ideal transport solution for short trips and a feeder to other public transport options. Cycle sharing can help reduce pollution, reduce traffic noise, improve safety on the roads. For users, it is a healthy mode of transport, often quicker than other modes for short distances, without the need to maintain the cycle or worrying about where to park. 

Key characteristics

  • High quality and durable bicycles
  • A large number of bicycle stations across the city where a user can pick up or drop the PBS bicycle
  • Users benefit from hiring cycles for various short trips during the day
  • Payment and usage tracking can be done through smart cards, mobile phones and internet

Bicycle Sharing vs. Bicycle Renting

(FromPBS Guidance Document Presentation’ (pdf, opens in new window) prepared by IBI Group for Ministry of Urban Development, Govt of India, March 2016)

  • Renting systems requires user to pick-up & return the bicycle to the same location thereby serving just one user.
  • PBS involves redistribution of bicycles allowing each bicycle to serve several users per day.

Bicycle Sharing vs. Bicycle Renting

Cycle Sharing Cycle Renting
Type of Service Public Transport (alternative IPT) Private Venture
Types of trips / customer Short-term/ Commuter & Tourist Long-term/ Tourist
Fare structure Subscription fee+ usage charge:Encourages short trips Subscription fee only: encourages long term rentals
Accessibility 24 hours a day (can vary between systems) Normal working hours
Ownership Government Private
Capital funding Government Private
Revenue Advertising, Sponsorships, User Fee, Registration charges, Cross or direct subsidies Subscription Fee
Automation Full/ semi automation Service personnel required


  • Typically, city governments are responsible for preparing the PBS plans, setting up the system, and for regulating and monitoring the PBS, expanding operations etc
  • Private operators handle day-to-day operations, including maintenance of cycles and ensuring that cycles are available at the cycle stations
  • The usage patterns and demand are monitored to improve and enhance the system

Financial Management

The capital and initial costs include purchase of bicycles, installation of cycle stations, the GPS systems and software to operate the PBS.

Revenue to meet the costs of running the system are generated through advertizing, membership and usage, sponsorships, on-street parking fees, as well as grants from the city government just like any public transport system that the city government provides for the benefit of citizens

Who Can Benefit from Using PBS

  • People who make short distance trips, typically up to 5 km
  • People who make long distance trips, could shift to a PBS+ transit option
  • Office or residential employees who can run short errands
  • School and college students

City wide Benefits

  • Social – health, affordable way of transport,
  • Environmental – no air pollution, more open spaces,
  • Economic – revenue generation, jobs, reduce transportation infrastructure investments

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

(From PBS Guidance Document Presentation’ (pdf, opens in new window) prepared by IBI Group for Ministry of Urban Development, Govt of India, March 2016)

Q: Can the city start PBS without cycling infrastructure?

  • Safe cycling facilities desirable but not critical to begin implementation | Chicken & Egg
  • Mixed traffic cycling in slower speed environments: better enforcement
  • Raise the profile of cycling & encourage investment in infrastructure

Q: Will it work in extreme weather?

  • Like cycling or other public transport, leaner use periods during extreme weather
  • As popularity increases, better cycling infrastructure such as shaded tracks and public conveniences could be provided

Q: I already own a bicycle, why will I use PBS?

  • Covenience: While you can continue to use your own cycle, you may find PBS convenient for last mile connectivity to public transport and other trips in the city when you don’t have your own cycle with you
  • Security: PBS provides secure features at designated stations, conveniently located at key destinations
  • Parking: Avoids the hassle of finding a place to park and parking charges
  • Cost Savings: reduces the cost of ownership and maintenance

Q: How can theft and vandalism of bicycles be prevented?

  • Registering the subscriber & valid identity is prerequisite
  • System identifies the user each time a bicycle is checked out which helps in tracking and preventing thefts
  • The responsibility of the cycle remains with the subscriber until it is returned at a station.
  • Use of technology and surveillance can address the issue of theft

Q: Who finances PBS?

  • Capital costs globally allocated from city’s budget
  • Private sector partnership for O&M costs

Q: Is bicycle sharing worth the investment? 

  • A high quality bicycle sharing system with a large coverage area costs a fraction of any public transit system or infrastructure investment.
  • Increase accessibility and reach of transit by providing last mile connectivity
  • Reduce congestion and improve air quality

What do you think? Should Pune get its own Public Bicycle Share System?


38 thoughts on “Public Bicycle Share System

  1. Your company Cycle lock broken and using without fear in public by thief
    where to contact if seen this kind of cycle without lock .


  2. PBS seems to be a good initiative. We should start it as Pilot project first and if it turns well can be extended later,also we will come to know the risks,drawbacks etc to be taken care in future.I suggest it to be implemented in two types
    1> Very busy roads like FC road,JM road,Laxmi road etc .People can drive up-to certain place from their home.Park their vehicles and take the bicycle to roam around the busy streets.There are lots of people living in far distance from main city but to do the shopping they come to these already busy streets.As the public transport is not good they are forced to bring their cars/bikes/scooters.Hence at both the ends of the streets there should be adequate parking space.This is an important factor for success of PBS.
    2> Another type of places/localities are which are developing and they have scope for improvement.It will be easy in these places to find parking places for car/bikes etc. people can park there cars take bicycle and roam around to their destination,where they will return the bicycle.For example Dhanori to Vishrantwadi,Vishrantwadi to Metal corner etc.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Good idea. The electric cycles can also be used. There are so many companies making efficient e-cycles. Parking shades with solar panels can be used for charging the vehicles along with grid supply. And remove that useless BRT ( Delhi has shown the courage to remove it ) and make better cycle tracks. This will improve health of polluted city and it’s unhealthy citizens. There are very less trees alongside the road in newly developed areas. Tree cover will provide the shade and will reduce the temperature. Cyclists will not be tired in such environment.


    • Thanks for your inputs. Cycle tracks, trees, cycle parking etc would be very helpful for cyclists.

      However, it is not clear why you feel the BRT is useless.

      The Rainbow BRT in Pune will soon complete one year at the end of August 2016. Surveys shows increased ridership and an overall shift of about 12% from other motorized modes to BRT. Rainbow BRT is currently operational on 4 corridors in Pune and Pimpri Chinchwad. These are:
      Sangamwadi-Vishrantwadi, Pune
      Yerwada-Wagholi, Pune
      Sangvi-Kiwale, Pimpri Chinchwad
      Nashik phata-Wakad, Pimpri Chinchwad

      Please see and for information on BRT routes and maps.


  4. making the system simple and not requiring special bicycles but allowing normal but repainted and marked with QR Code label so that they can be tracked easily , will help implementation of the scheme beyond just a few areas . It will also keep cost to society low.
    many people buy cycles but then they are not in use. they can share or give away their cycles for credit on rentals . by simply allowing the normal cycle stands to operate the services, we will save on any special space rights, advt, sponsorships, sustainability, theft issues and many other issues which can otherwise make such copy paste approach scheme for foreign cities simply fail .. When we can easily formulate a simple and workable solution for rent a cycle scheme with normal cycles I think there should be no need to create a new jazzy looking business model just for fancy


  5. Is PMC day dreaming. Although this looks good I dont think so PMC has any real strength to implement the project to fullest & benifit to public.
    What happened to BRTS, It is a failed project causing a lot of traffic jams, untidy, unsafe buses, even children & elders cannot cross road to get to the bus stops somewhere in middle of road & huge traffic. Even crossing bays(zebra crossing) & bus stops are not in sync one has to cross the road at one place & walk over to the bus stop through the BRTS lane or through the traffic risking their lives.
    Has any bureaucrat / official tried to use BRTS for at least a months travel or travelled without the red siren vehicle in adjoining lanes. Have you witnessed the problems at Satara road & Hadapsar. Have you looked at the lives lost in BRTS & adjoining lanes?
    What has PMC done for all this & why not take responsibility to provide a safe travel whether bus or road.
    ALso has anyone looked at what has happenend of cycle tracks made on Satara road, Bibvewadi, Hadapsar road ? Why dont authorities try to use the cycle track cycling themselves & understand how it is to cycle- You find people/kids shit on these, some cycle tracks end abruptly- These have been made about 5-8 years ago? Why the authorities are unable to see this or do they not inspect what work is completed by contractor (this way the tax payers money is wasted)
    Is this another BRTS in happening- wasting tax payers monies?
    Why is PMC painting a a dream picture at all.
    Even while planting trees, why exotic trees are planted as against Neem, Babul,Tamarind, or such local trees?
    Just look at Dubai (thru Google search/You tube)- They have more Neem trees then in Pune.
    First fix up issues pertaining to activities taken up (BRTS, public transport improvement, syncing of signals)& then improve & try be a Europe though Pune has all the potential & beauty to be.
    It will be a risk and yet another failure if PMC tries something like this without improving on projects taken up before.


    • Thanks for your observations.

      Studies being done to gather information for the Pune Cycle Plan include:
      – Traffic volume count
      – Infrastructure assessment, including status of existing cycle tracks, cycle parking
      – Land use and destinations mapping
      – Survey of cycle users and potential users
      – Household survey to establish the share of cycles as a mode of transport

      As part of the Pune Streets Programme, over 100 km of streets, including Satara Road are being re-designed this year. In total about 500 km of roads are being re-designed over 5 years for improving pedestrian facilities.

      About the Bus Rapid Transit System – Please see the website for information about the new BRTS that has been launched as Rainbow BRT in Pune and Pimpri Chinchwad, as well as see the Facebook page There are considerable changes between the pilot project developed earlier on Solapur and Satara Roads. Please see also

      Please also see the presentation on the main page of this website which presents the overall policy and project orientation of PMC as regards transportation in Pune.


  6. Install cycle stands/careers on the bus. For your reference see this image in link:
    One such stand can hold 4-5 cycles. Stands can be installed in front and rear of the bus.

    It will allow people to travel to the bus stop on cycle, take long distance ride in the bus, when their cycle is mounted on the bus itself and continue on cycle after reaching bus stop that is closest to their destination.


  7. I quite agree with Mr Sanjay Singh.Following are a few suggestions from my experience abroad recently.

    1. Dont be in a hurry to implement the plan.There is a lot to be done at the basic level of implementation.
    2.There is a need to initially demarcate the area in which this plan will work and it should be limited to 2kms from the centre of the city to ease the congestion inside the city. this is always the case abroad.
    3 A survey within the city needs to be carried out as to which is the most demanding area for decongestion and a road plan needs to be implemented accordingly in which a cycle track will shoulder the main road on either side and demarcated clearly.No vehicular traffic should be allowed to trespass this cycle zone and a heavy fine needs to be imposed on offenders,one who violate without causing any damage to cyclist and one who cause damage to cyclist in cycling zone.
    If we can bring our safety level to a high standard then only should we allow
    school children to use the PBS
    4.we dont see any space for cycle parking bays especially inside the city.Cycle parking bays and their locations are extremely important.
    5.In crossing roads and traffic signals Cyclists have to follow plan laid out for pedestrians.
    6.Before implementing the PBS a campaign through media,NGO’s and Pune traffic needs to be carried out.
    7.Speed limits for vehicles need to be displayed prominently on roads and adherence to it.Rash driving has to be curbed strictly. SAFETY FIRST should be the Motto of implementing PBS.Therefore planning the structure of PBS operation is important.
    Would be available for any suggestions if you require.


  8. This is in reply to your question: how can recreational / adventure cyclists also take up commute cycling?

    People don’t take cycles to their workplace for following reasons:
    1> Distance between home and office is too long to be covered on cycle. People travel from 2-30 kms to reach office. Normal people(excluding adventurers and sports lovers) will mind travelling on cycle if distance is not in single digit.
    2> Most of the people have work timings that doesn’t end early evening. Our roads are not safe for cyclist in night. Most of the vehicles use high beam. Motorist are in hurry during night. In the nights many streets have problems of stray dogs chasing two wheelers.
    3> If I cycle to office, most likely i would be sweating. Most offices don’t have a bath and changing facility.
    4> Most adventurer and sports lover cycle on Pune road when traffic is less. During peak traffic cycling is risky.
    5> Most of the roads don’t have cycling lanes. If cycling lanes exist then they are not clearly marked. If marked, then there is no enforcement. People use it as parking lanes or driving motor vehicles.

    In summary, if the cycling becomes safe, reliable, comfortable and gets connected with other mode of transport (as described in PBS), people may start using it for all sorts of commute within city.


  9. SMART initiative !!!
    As a responsible citizen, will be participating in this program. Let’s make sure that best solution comes out, it’s for our own good.
    kindly make sure that PBS is IMPLEMENTED & SUSTAINED.
    P.S. Learn from BRT failures & keep politicians out of scope.


    • Thank you. We have a question for all recreation and adventure cyclists.
      But before that, we have to express our admiration and support for your love of cycling and your amazing feats of randonneuring.

      Now the question – how can recreational / adventure cyclists also take up commute cycling?
      Our surveys show that many people who cycle for exercise or enjoyment, do not necessarily cycle to their workplaces.

      What are your views about this? Is this largely true?
      If so, what can be done so that recreational cyclists also start cycling to work?

      Look forward to your suggestions!


      • With the whether condition in India, Cycling to work is possible with good facility like changing room, Shower, Parking facility and also with the employers assistance to arrange infra/work timings and cycle sharing along with PMC.

        For Eg: MIDC’s and IT parks in and around Pune can come up in together to provide a Cycling Friendly environment. Like Hinjewadi has MetroZip as a comman public transport for all company employees.

        Good Example is Infosys Campus in Pune and Mysore which already has this in place.


  10. PBS is a very important intiative there can be lot of additional features which can be added to this system. Like adding a electricity generation unit to every cycle and every such cycle when parked will transfer it to the grid. This kind of ideas may seem impossible as we are struggling with basic infrastructure like dedicated cycle tracks but nothing is impossible. If givem opporrunity i would love to work on this kind of innovative ideas.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I would love to be part of bicycle riders. That dud reduce traffic and pollution, parking issues to great extent. PBS is good option, provided the cycles need to be well maintained.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Good thought..but arduous…i do around 40 km cycling evry week…but then infra is not supportive and safe for car driving forget about bicycles…best luck

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Why will PMC start PBS? PMC’s job is to provide infrastructure like good quality and safe roads.

    Forget cycling, one cannot walk on roads. There exists no footpath for a 100 mts stretch in Pune (areas that I roam around) which does not have ditches, urinated, man holes, electric boxes, etc.

    Focus building good infrastructure to cycle and ensuring bikes dont ride on footpaths/cycle paths. This is far more complex problem to solve.

    PBS like initiatives will automatically started by private startups once there is good basic infrastructure in place. On the other hand, if there is no infrastructure, whatever you do will flop and be closed within days due to lack of usage/interest.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I agreed. PMC lacking in basic infrastructure of good road, foot path, public transport, garbage collection, strict rules for traffic rules violation, stoping encroachments on roads.

      First step should be make basic infrastructure up to the mark. Then PMC can think about cycle tracks, BRT etc

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks. The experience with PBS from different cities in the world is that city authorities have to provide the main support, and it does not automatically happen as a private venture.

      Through the Cycle Plan, the PMC is planning for both basic infrastructure of cycle network, cycle parking etc, as well as PBS.


  14. Yes. I will be very happy to be part of this initiative. Both using PBS and working for Pune administration in implementing it. I am a software engineer and community service enthusiast.
    Rajeev Thakur.

    Liked by 2 people

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