The world’s first dockless bike hire scheme has expanded to Sheffield today (January 9th) with a fleet of 1,000 bikes – the largest and fastest such launch in the UK so far.
All bikes in Sheffield will be free to hire for the first two weeks, and ofo collects no deposit when registering new users.
Sheffield is ofo’s first city in the north of the UK and follows successful launches in Cambridge, Oxford, London and Norwich. The scheme is already used by 200 million users in 20 countries to make 32 million trips every day.
From today Sheffield’s people will be able to hire a lightweight three-speed bike with the click of a button via the ofo smartphone app, ride it anywhere in the city and lock it again for just 50p for a 30 minute journey. The entire fleet will be fitted with bright dynamo front lights, solar-powered rear lights and a handy front basket. They also have a hydraulically-adjusted seatpost so riders of all heights can get comfortable in seconds.
Adam Rose, ofo’s operations manager for Sheffield, said: “ofo is set to stir up the way Sheffield residents travel in their city. Dockless bikes give people options that can challenge the private car. Like countless cities across the UK, Sheffield is marred by air pollution problems, often caused by congestion. By bringing ofo to Sheffield we are offering a clean, affordable and practical alternative.
“ofo harnesses the fantastic potential of cutting-edge technology but combines it with the classic utility of the bicycle – something which I’m sure will appeal to the residents of a vibrant and thriving city like Sheffield.”
The company is leading the way on responsible operation of dockless bike sharing, working closely with Sheffield City Council to ensure the scheme provides a valuable and reliable service for the public.
Sheffield Councillor Jack Scott, Cabinet Member for Transport and Sustainability, said: “ofo coming to Sheffield is great news for this city. This type of bike sharing is set to change the way we get from A-to-B for the better. Not only will ofo provide an affordable and convenient transport option for many, but it will also promote the fantastic health benefits of cycling – reducing air pollution and boosting healthy lifestyles.
“Sheffield Council has been working closely with ofo to ensure that dockless bikes are used responsibly and considerately following their introduction. That’s why we support ofo’s approach of gradually increasing the bikes on Sheffield streets after gauging usage patterns. This will help ofo bikes serve the right areas and the right people – enriching and supplementing Sheffield’s existing transport options.”
The bike sharing scheme is the first of its kind in the city and will offer greater transport choice. ofo is committed to getting people cycling and will be providing Bikeability training in the city to encourage new and lapsed riders to try the scheme and ride more often.
ofo is the first station-free platform operating in the UK to be awarded accreditation by Bikeplus, the UK representative body for bike sharing. A Living Wage employer, ofo also engages with the cycling community, and works with local bike shops to maintain its bikes. At least 15 local residents will be employed by ofo on launch in the city.
ofo is committed to upholding high standards of service at all times and has a ‘UK Charter’ that details safety specifications, community principles, responsible business practices and general service guidance.
How it works
ofo’s eye-catching yellow bikes are hired through a smartphone app for just 50p for 30 minutes and can be picked up and dropped off anywhere that bike parking is allowed. ofo does not require riders to pay a deposit before use. To access a bike, riders can simply download the ofo app and unlock their nearest bike via Bluetooth connection. Once their ride is complete, users simply close the lock to complete their ride and make it available for the next person to use.
ofo also employs geofencing technology to ensure that riders use the bikes within the designated ‘Home Zone’ which is clearly visible in the app.
From launch day, ofo will have a team of ‘marshals’ available seven days a week to answer any questions from users and ensure the service runs smoothly and that bikes are being parked responsibly.