Bengaluru-based car-rental startup Zoomcar has been offering cars that you can rent and drive yourself since it launched in 2012, but it has taken time to build up its fleet of cars. Earlier this year, Zoomcar talked about its IoT platform, and unveiled its co-buying platform to ramp up the number of cars on board. Now, the company is also in the process of rolling out a bicycle rental service, called Pedl. An industry source also says that Zoomcar working on motorcycles and scooters as well. Gadgets 360 reached out to the company but the company says it is in the test phase. However, if you're in Bengaluru, you can try out the service yourself.
At the same time, the company has also announced that it's adding its services in other countries, with expansion plans in Asia and Africa. "We have conducted an in-depth research and have a decent sense of market knowledge in Asia and Africa," said Zoomcar CEO Greg Moran, speaking about the expansion plans. "Our aim is to be in 20-plus countries in next two-three years."
Pedl is available in a number of different locations, largely in HSR Layout for now. You can get the bicycles from the BDA complex, 27th Main Road, Sai Mandir, Aston Service Apartment, the W store, Petoo restaurant, and more locations. As of now, it's limited to a single locality, however Gadgets 360 observed people riding Pedl cycles in nearby neighbourhoods of Koramangala and Bellandur, and spoke to some of these users, along with visiting a rental location.
Rental is simple - just walk into a Pedl location, pay via Paytm or cash at pickup, and drop the cycle off when done at any of the Pedl locations. There is no cash given as security deposit, but you do have to carry a photo ID proof.
You pay per hour - the Pedl bikes are currently very affordable, at just Rs. 10 per hour, although if you use the bicycle for longer than planned you may have to pay extra at the time of returning it.
At the Pedl location, the staff is helpful about making the booking and you can get started very quickly. You need to give your ID, and share your phone number, and pay the fee depending on how long you plan to use the bike and after that you can get rolling. We were told that in case of any damages you are liable, and if you don't return the bicycle there is a fine to be paid depending on the delay. However, the team at the pickup point weren't able to share any information on expansion plans, or when Zoomcar will expand Pedl beyond HSR Layout.
"I use these cycles instead of autos because it works out cheaper, and it's fun," says Megha Vaid, a college student from HSR Layout whom Gadgets 360 spoke to. She has been using Pedl for a week now, Vaid tells us, adding that she usually doesn't take the cycle far - "my friends and I take one cycle each, and we can get to Total Mall from HSR in about 10 minutes."
Cycling is popular in Bengaluru, and it's quite common to see middle-aged people in full safety gear on bikes on the roads. The college students we met are wearing regular clothes, and just a simple helmet, but they say that for the stretch that they travel, there have been no difficulties in getting around on bicycles.
Other bicycle rental options
That said, Zoomcar's Pedl isn't the only option available on the market for people who are interested. With availability limited to just one area, Pedl is still in its early days. However, we found a few other services that are available, and depending on your city, you might find more options.
Metro Bikes: This Bengaluru-based bike rental company lets you book a wide variety of motorcycles and scooters, and is available in 10 cities, including Delhi, Bengaluru, Jaipur, and Ahmedabad. Aside from the range of scooters and bikes available, you can also book a bicycle. There's no minimum rental time, but you pay the same for a 24-hour booking or a 1-hour booking, at Rs. 200. A two-day booking will set you back by Rs. 350, and a three-day booking works out to Rs. 500; a whole month's booking will set you back by Rs. 1,550. Availability of the bicycles is a little limited though.
To book: Metro Bikes
Rentomo: Another Bengaluru-company, Rentomo lets you hire a number of different things, from luggage to wheelchairs to cameras to electronics like a Chromecast or a Kinect, and also allows you to rent bicycles. At the time of writing, there were nearly a hundred options available in Bengaluru, but while we found options in Mumbai, Pune, Ahmedabad, and Delhi-NCR, these were all in single digits.
Rentomo is a little expensive though; instant bookings are available, but the rate is typically Rs. 650 per day, and the exact terms vary by listing. Not all will ask for a security deposit, though some do. Others will ask for an ID document as security.
To book: Rentomo
Planet Green Bikes: If you live in Delhi, you might have seen this bike rental service near Metro stations. Planet Green Bikes (PGB) has around 14 automated cycle locations in Delhi-NCR, and to use it, you have to register on its website. You will then be issued a smart card, and you can use this, or the PGB app, to issue a cycle. Once you're done, you can just leave the cycle at the nearest PGB location. The rides are charged at Rs. 10 per hour, and the first 30 minutes are free, but you can't keep the bicycles overnight.
To book: Planet Green Bikes
RentSetGo: RentSetGo also allows for daily rentals of bicycles. This site offers bikes in number of different cities, including Delhi, Mumbai, and Bengaluru, and offers a wide variety of bicycles to choose from. The rate and terms vary depending on the bike you choose, but for something like the Firefox Target in Mumbai, for example, you're paying Rs. 732 per day, plus a Rs. 1,000 deposit.
On the site, the cheapest daily rate was for a BSA Shine, at Rs. 220 per day; however you have to pay a deposit of Rs. 5,000. The most expensive bicycle for daily rental was the Gary Fisher Hifi Plus, which charges Rs. 1,222 per day, and also has a Rs. 5,000 deposit.
To book: RentSetGo
Another interesting option is SimplyGuest - a platform that makes it easy to move in with new flatmates, and the rent you pay includes broadband Internet access, a Tata Sky subscription and a TV, appliances like a fridge and washing machine, even maid services. Tenants can rent a bicycle for Rs. 33 a day, or Rs. 999 a month, though of course, this is only for people on the service.