The Hindu - January 06, 2012 -- The Technopark Bicycle Club has been declared a
runaway hit. Exactly one month since it began, the campus is abuzz with the blue-and-white
bikes. Promoted as an effective solution to overcome traffic congestion and parking
woes, and a boost for the green initiatives of the IT park, techies now hire cycles
for several errands – like going for lunch or for covering the distance from the
main gate to their offices. Now they are also allowed to take the cycles out of
the campus as well.
The Technopark Bicycle Club is going places as employees go that extra mile for the environment and opt for bicycles to travel around the campus.
There are 55 cycles (10 are ladies' cycles) parked at the five racks spread across
the campus. Conceptualised by Allianz Cornhill (as ‘Why Not Cycle for a Green Environment?')
and implemented by Athi's Bicycle Club, Kerala's first cross-city bicycle club launched
by city-based engineer M.S. Athirup, it is an SMS-based cycle hiring system. Through
SMS (in different formats) one can know about the club, how to register, terms and
conditions, usage and mode of making payments in the dropbox and so on. Registration
is free; hourly rental is Rs.2 (Rs.10 after five hours of usage) and the service
is available 24 x 7.
"The registration has already touched 700. Some companies even want to register
their employees in bulk. The usage is high between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m., when we don't
charge anything. Many take the cycles home at night," says Athirup.
You don't have to return the cycle to the starting place but can integrate it with
other modes of transportation, and there is no restriction in terms of distance.
Three people have been deployed for maintenance.
Say Joseph Devasia and Anu Gopinathan with UST Global: "We used to take walks to
and fro to have lunch. Now we use the cycles."
Adds Joseph: "I use it to travel from the main gate to my office building in the
morning. No more fights with auto drivers who charge at least Rs.20 for that distance!
Also, cycles have become a good excuse for many to take a break from work and unwind."
Techies Smitha O. and Veena G.S., with Maxartists, use the cycles for intra-campus
travel, especially to commute from their office to the main gate after office hours.
"Since there aren't many ladies' cycles, we use the gents' cycles. It'd be nice
if there were more ladies' cycles," Veena says.
Uphill pedalling isn't easy, many techies say. However, cycling has made commuting
healthier, greener and happier, according to Amit Passi, Director and Head of BP,