Ofo, China’s largest non-docking bike share scheme chose cycle-friendly Cambridge to launch their first bike share scheme in the UK. The company which campaigns for people to ‘share more, own less’ is kick-starting its first UK trial as part of its mission to get more Brits cycling, in a bid to reduce emissions and congestion in city centres.
Claire Chen, Head of Ofo UK commented: “The benefits of cycling are endless, from the numerous physical benefits to reducing the number of cars on the road and bringing down air pollution, so we wanted to make it as easy as possible for people to get on two wheels.”
“The added benefit of our bike sharing scheme is that bikes can be used more effectively, with hundreds of potential users for each bike rather than just one. This will reduce the number of bikes needed by a city’s population. We strongly believe that by sharing more and owning less, we can collectively reduce our impact on the planet,” she added.
With the highest proportion of cyclists in the country and an unrivaled cycling infrastructure, Cambridge was a natural choice for Ofo’s UK launch. As part of its three-week trial, Ofo will be introducing 20 bikes to the streets of Cambridge from 20th April. During the trial, Ofo will be working closely with residents and authorities to develop a rollout plan following the trial.
With air quality in many of the UK’s major cities posing a serious health problem, Ofo aims to encourage as many Brits to get out of their cars and get onto its brightly coloured bikes as possible. Once its bike-sharing model has been proven in Cambridge, Ofo plans to enter other UK cities with bike share schemes later this year.
The iconic yellow bikes are hired through a smartphone app and can be picked up and dropped off anywhere that bike parking is allowed. To get access to a bike, all riders have to do is download the app and type in the bike number to get an access code that operates Ofo’s unlocking system. Once the rider finishes their journey, they just leave the bike where cycle parking is permitted and end their rental through the app, making it available for the next person to use. With rental costs as low as 50p for 30 minutes, and free to use for the first month, Ofo provides a great value way for everyone to get around.
The bike share scheme introduction in Cambridge means that Ofo is now in four countries: in 81 cities in their home market of China where they have a staggeringly large fleet of 2.5 million bikes, Singapore and several US cities. Worldwide they have 4 million bikes and 10 million rides daily! Hopefully, their trials will be a success and we will see Ofo rolled out in other UK towns and cities.