E-bikes providing last-mile connectivity from bus stops taken off Mumbai roads

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Mumbai, July 9 (PTI) The private operator which provided VOGO e-bikes in Mumbai for last-mile connectivity from BEST bus stops has withdrawn the scooters, the civic-run transport body said on Tuesday.

The operator withdrew the e-bikes, which many commuters found convenient for short-distance rides, especially late at night, without intimating Brihanmumbai Electric Supply and Transport (BEST) two months ago, officials claimed.

Chalo Mobility, which acquired the bike rental startup VOGO in 2022 and was providing the service, said it had informed BEST about the withdrawal.

The company had registered 1,000 single-seat e-bikes with BEST when it launched the service two years ago, and 850 to 875 bikes were operated on a daily basis.

There were complaints about children or under-age youngsters using the bikes for joyride, haphazard parking in front of bus stops and poor maintenance, among others, but many commuters were nonetheless finding the bikes a convenient mode of transport.

The eco-friendly bikes ran at a maximum speed of 25 kmph.

In response to a questionnaire, a BEST spokesperson said the operator withdrew e-bikes from Mumbai roads in May and the transport body learnt it through the operational data shared by it.

There was no official intimation, nor any reasons were given, the spokesperson said, adding that BEST had not asked the company to stop the service.

The withdrawal did not cause any financial loss to BEST, and it has no plans to rope in any other e-bike service provider as of now, he added.

On June 24, 2022, BEST launched the single seat electric scooters with its "vision for offering an end-to-end integrated transportation solution to the people of Mumbai".

BEST had kept the e-bike rate at affordable Rs 1.50 per minute with a 50 per cent discount on the base fare of Rs 20.

Chalo Mobility also provides mobile app ticketing facility for BEST buses.

"We have formally notified BEST of our service withdrawal through an official letter," the company said when contacted for comment, but did not disclose why the service was withdrawn. PTI KK KRK