This San Francisco initiative talks of a Zipcar for scooters, on the lines of car hires. Quite a bright idea, literally, with the red paint branding and logo on the Vespa scooters. The logical question is, why not a two-wheeler ride service for Chennai (or any other Indian city or town)? They can help many young people get employed and add a mobility option in the city, in the last mile (from railway stations, bus stands and junctions to interior streets). A working milometer can be used to calculate fares.
In fact, two-wheeler taxis are not a new idea in India. They have existed even two decades ago in Goa. Today, they may offer a viable alternative to the costly autorickshaw rides in cities such as Chennai and Coimbatore, when only one person has to travel. Naturally, safety concerns have to be addressed, the riders rigorously trained and compelled to offer a crash helmet to the paying passenger.
Evidently, this is an idea worth looking at, but will the politicians of the day in Tamil Nadu muster the will to break mobility bottlenecks? Likely not.