BENGALURU: Bicycle and scooter rental firms, whose entry into the city has aided last-mile connectivity through shared mobility, say they have been hit by rampant vandalism, thefts and misuse. From stealing vehicles parts like batteries, tyres, headlights and mirrors to pilfering petrol, and from parking vehicles irresponsibly on flyovers and roads to damaging them, lack of civic sense is marring urban mobility in Bengaluru, allege companies. Companies like Bounce, Yulu, Vogo and Drivezy, who are in the business, say offenders are getting away despite promises by civic authorities and police. According to Yulu, around 300 of its bicycles were vandalised, damaged and stolen between January 2018 and May 2019, while two electric scooters were damaged between March and May 2019. Yulu CEO Amit Gupta said: “We’ve incurred a loss of Rs 40 to Rs 50 lakh due to these damages, but a majority is covered by insurance.” Other app-based rental providers refused to provide statistics of their damaged vehicles. Vivekananda HR, co-founder, Bounce, said: “There have been a few instances where tyres are stolen or bikes damaged.” Vogo CEO Anand Ayyadurai said: “We have seen less than 1% incidents of vandalism or theft. Our station-to-station booking model ensures our scooters are not left around.” If users park outside designated parking hubs, Yulu imposes a penalty of Rs 20 for bicycles and Rs 40 for electric scooters. The firm claimed it has penalised 29,382 users between November 2018 and April 2019, but did not reveal the amount earned from this exercise. Yulu filed seven police complaints and received an apology letter and was able to recover damage costs in 65 cases. “We are working with the government to cancel driving licences of errant users. We are also rewarding good drivers and imposing fines between Rs 100 and Rs 2,000,” said Vivekananda. While Gupta advocated enhanced awareness to prevent thefts and vandalism, Vivekananda said Bounce is making its vehicles theft-proof. “We’re able to recover most vehicles through the tracking system. In some cases where it doesn’t work, we turn to on-ground intelligence and citizens’ support. We’ve a dedicated bike marshal team which helps patrol sensitive areas and recover vehicles. The most effective solution is using CCTV cameras and active involvement of the police department to deter such incidents,” Gupta said. Vivekananda said Bounce is building sensors that send alerts and notify the firm of an unexpected action. “We’ll track vehicles with the help of users and patrolling teams. We have installed helmet sensors on scooters to know who walked away with the helmet,” he said.
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June 24, 2019
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