Fresh bike hire scheme launches in London with hundreds of cycles

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Another bike hire company is set to launch in London amid concerns that similar schemes are blocking pavements and attracting vandalism.

Chinese firm ofo has delivered an initial 200 bikes to parts of Hackney, with the service due to expand across the entire borough.

The yellow bike hire scheme does not feature docking stations such as those used in Transport for London’s Santander Cycles scheme.

Riders unlock the bikes using a smartphone app and a Bluetooth connection, paying 50p for 30 minutes.

Wandsworth Council confiscated 130 bikes owned by rival firm oBike last month after it received a “flood of complaints” about them causing obstructions.

The firm drew fire from Hackney Council and Hammersmith and Fulham Council, who complained of a lack of dialogue.

Another firm, Mobike, had 50 of its bikes damaged and abandoned after introducing them in Manchester and Salford in June.

Joseph Seal-Driver, ofo’s UK operations director, said: “We’re very proud to be working closely with such committed partners in Hackney Council.

“They have demonstrated the kind of innovative thinking that will help ease London’s perennial problems with congestion and pollution.

“We hope this partnership serves as an example for other boroughs and cities to follow suit and take positive steps toward re-shaping how we travel in cities.”

The company’s first UK launch was in Cambridge in April, followed by Oxford in August.

Hackney Council’s transport chief Feryal Demirci said: “The Santander bikes which have been very successful in London have not expanded as far as we would have liked.

“We are therefore really excited about ofo’s potential to make cycling available to all our communities in Hackney and service a wider area, beyond central London, in a way that other providers have yet to achieve.

“We are going to work with ofo to make sure that users are given information on locations where they can park their bike in hot spot areas to prevent issues such as obstructing the footway and parking on busy, narrow pavements.”


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