Taking the millennial sharing economy work ethic to heart, Deepak VS and his friend decided to buy a bicycle together while studying at the sprawling SRM campus in Chennai. Having saved significantly on running, maintenance, and purchasing costs, they wondered if the concept of shareable bikes could be extended to students and faculty across the university.
Deepak assembled a team and together they created two docking station prototypes (patent pending) at two stations at SRM, and a smart card system that allowed students to borrow and return the bikes seamlessly using their student IDs. Once introduced to the DISQ co-innovation system, Deepak decided to scale his concept – now called Tilt – and test it in the real world.
Making good use of the fabrication spaces, technical mentorship, and ecosystem resources made available to them at DISQ, the team tied up with the local municipal corporation to pilot Tilt. The team deployed a 6-bike station at the Golf Club Grounds in Nashik, signing up riders to their card-based system to make borrowing and returning bikes simpler.
Health on Two Wheels
Within the first two months, people had used the Tilt bikes to take more than 2,000 rides, racking up more than 500 hours of usage. Nearly fifteen months later, Tilt boasts of over 1,900 registered users, 18,000 rides, and over 7,000 hours of cycling. Today, the station has nine bikes that are available for eight hours every day.
This pilot phase has yielded interesting analytics. A majority of the riders said they accessed the system for health and fitness, while many users made it an active part of their workout regimen. Nearly half of the users were above 45 years of age, and almost 37% of all users were women. Tilt also saw a spike in interest from users after introducing a gamification system that rewards riders with points per ride.
Recognizing the potential of sharable mobility offerings in ecosystems such as corporate premises, townships, and resorts, the Tilt team is now working on scaling to campuses and cities across India. It has tied up with Tata Stryder to procure customized bikes, with the service already being available at the Tata Motors campus in Pune and the city of Jamshedpur.