After metro stations, bike-sharing start-up Bounce is now driving into railway stations.
The Accel and Sequoia-backed company has won a competitive bid to provide its dockless scooter-sharing service at the railway stations in Karnataka. This makes it the first start-up to win such a deal.
The company will be able to expand its operations across 13 Bengaluru railway stations, helping passengers in the city with first and last-mile connectivity.
“With the load on road infrastructure, there is an urgent need to shift away from personal mobility to public transportation and shared mobility. To increase adoption of public transportation, it’s imperative to create integrated multimodal connectivity to make daily commute seamless,” said Vivekananda Hallekere, chief executive officer (CEO) and co-founder, Bounce.
“We’re happy to be working with the authorities such as Bengaluru Railway Division, which recognised the importance of shared mobility services and enabled us further to provide accessible mobility. This is happening for the first time ever in the country. We are positive that it’ll help lakhs of railway commuters with their first and last-mile commute.”
Through the partnership with the Bengaluru Railway Division, Bounce plans to introduce 698 scooters at 13 Bengaluru railway stations. Bounce scooters will make their debut at places such as Bellandur, Yelahanka, Banaswadi, Whitefield, Yeshwanthpur and Kengeri.
Parking lots have been allotted at two entrances in each of these stations to pick up or drop off Bounce bikes.
By providing bike service from the premise of railway stations, Bounce said it aims to improve connectivity and encourage citizens to use railway services.
Integration of hired, shared and public transport services will ensure all modes of commute complement each other and provide a seamless experience to citizens.
Since the last two years, there has been a significant increase in the number of people using the suburban rail service.
It is particularly popular among office-goers looking to avoid traffic.
This year, 1.5 lakh passengers opted to travel by the South Western Railway’s intracity trains, an increase from 1.4 lakh passengers in 2016-17.
According to a recent proposal by Rail India Technical and Economic Service (Rites), suburban trains are projected to have a total daily ridership of 9.28 lakh in 2025.
At a time when hours spent commuting has gone up because of traffic congestion, Bounce feels suburban railway acts as a cheap and fast alternative for the long commute.
However, the first and last-mile connectivity is still a critical issue. In Bengaluru, railways see lakhs of people coming in or going out of the city from various stations. The city’s fragmented transport system and evolving public transport impact a sizable number of these travellers. A recent survey showed that 70 per cent of citizens in Bengaluru felt the need for improving first and last-mile connectivity.
Bounce, which was recently valued at $500 million in a funding round, is scaling on a par with global players, including US-based scooter rental companies Lime and Bird.
The company has already partnered three Mass Rapid Transport systems – Namma Metro, Hyderabad Metro and Nagpur Metro. Within a year, 42 per cent of Bounce rides either originated or culminated at Namma Metro; around 40,000 of the nearly one lakh daily rides undertaken have been metro commuters.
The company operates in Bengaluru with 13,000 dockless scooters and has a presence in over 35 cities in the rental and docked model.
The start-up’s app allows the users to pick up a scooter and drop it at any legitimate parking spot. The bikes are enabled with the latest tech solutions like Bluetooth helmets, tilt and tow sensors. They also have features like global positioning system (GPS ) tagging, geo-fencing and sensors that alert the team in case of a crash or battery tampering.