Pune RTO | Pune's Plan for E-Bike Rental Program Hits Roadblock
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Pune RTO | Pune Municipal Corporation’s ambitious plan to promote electric vehicles and reduce pollution has encountered a significant hurdle, as the proposed e-bike rental program remains on paper. Despite hiring a contractor a year ago and planning for the project’s launch, it has been put on hold due to the state government’s restriction on e-bikes exceeding a speed of 25 kilometers per hour.


The Pune Municipal Corporation has been actively working to establish an environmentally friendly transportation system, including the introduction of CNG and e-bus services to replace diesel buses. Recognizing the popularity of two-wheelers among the public, the city had planned to launch an e-bike rental program. The plan was submitted to the Standing Committee in March 2022 and approved by the Administrator Municipal Commissioner Vikram Kumar in September 2022.


The contractor was responsible for obtaining the necessary licenses and implementing the project. While the Regional Transport Office (RTO) approved two-wheelers with a top speed of 25 km/h, this limitation severely hampers the project’s viability.


E-bikes with higher speeds of 60 to 70 kilometers per hour would be more practical, but the state government has not granted approval for such models. The proposal was even presented in a Cabinet meeting, but it was postponed, leading to the setback for the plan.


The proposed e-bike rental program included the installation of 780 charging stations across the city, granting advertising rights to the contracted firm, and a 30-year space allotment. Initially, the government accepted the plan for 250 stations in the first phase, each equipped with ten e-bikes. Users would be able to pick up and return bikes at various points, with a proposed cost of Rs 160 paise per kilometer. The contractor and the municipal administration had finalized the locations for the 250 stations, aiming to provide e-bike rentals in 20 to 25 sites by January 2023.


Although the RTO has approved e-bikes with a speed restriction of 25 km/h, such low speeds can quickly drain the battery if used at higher speeds. Additionally, transportation department laws do not apply to these bikes, limiting their integration into the city’s transit system. Efforts are being made to obtain clearance for higher capacity e-bikes, but approval is still pending.


“The RTO has allowed e-bikes to travel at speeds of up to 25 kilometers per hour. However, we need more capable e-bikes. We are currently pursuing the necessary permissions with the contractor,” said VG Kulkarni, Head of the Road Department at PMC.


Ajit Shinde, RTO Pune, assured that the municipality has been granted permission for e-bikes, and if further permissions are required, they will be granted. Despite the current setback, it is hoped that the necessary approvals will be obtained soon, allowing the e-bike rental program to become a reality and contribute to a greener and sustainable transportation system in Pune.


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