Cartoon courtesy Hugh
I was surprised to know that Kiruba cycles his commute to work. I guess due to BarcampChennai, Satish also got infected to it.
As I mostly think on how to infuse technology and entreprenuership into micro-enterprise(SHG) movement I thought up this:
Cycles can be fitted with GPS tags that are tamper proof and embedded deep inside the tubings. This will make it virtually impossible to hide the bike. It will be always tracable. No one can steal it and hide it.
This way it will be easy for a bicycle rental network rent it and not worrry about loosing it to theft.
If such bicylce are made available to a rental network that are wide spread like STD/ISD shops.
These shops rent to customers based on electronic smart card- issued based on credit worthyness or upon sufficient deposit.
Then junta can just pick up a bicycle from one of these shops, pedal towards their destination say 3/4th KM away. Leave the cycle at another friendly shop part of the network, pay the rental using the card and get on with the business. In the process saving time, becoming fit, and probably feel more ownership towards the ‘commons’ road.
The shops gets commision on the rental revenue and maintanance charges paid by the customer.
I want this bootstrapped as a micro-enterprise business network. Say a set of 1000 urban self help groups are given loan for 10 GPS enabled bicycles each. The micro-enterprise network owns and operates the inventory management/tracking/customer management system.
How does this idea compare to heavy investment/long lead time urban transport infrastructure project:
* Participatory; Economic activity is shared. Ownership is shared.
* Low on investment. Totally bankable. No need to borrow from overseas banks at obsene rate of interests for eternity.
There will be a lot of implementation glitches. But nothing is unsolvable with will and commitment.
Update: Bangalore Chennai Pedelthon which motivated the post was completed colourfully by the Kiruba, Shyam and friends. Here is Kiruba’s account of it. Checkout the amazing bats in the photo!