A cycle-sharing scheme which does away with permanent bays has opened in Hackney.
Ofo, which dubs itself the world’s first and largest station-free bike sharing company, differs from Santander because you can leave the bikes on any cycle parking spot.
Ofo rolled out the bikes in the borough at an opportune moment. Last week the mayor of London Sadiq Khan issued another alert for high air pollution and Hackney, like other London boroughs, is working to slash emissions.
Familiar already to cyclists in Cambridge and Oxford and in the Far East, Ofo’s bright yellow bikes work through a smartphone app, costing 50p for 30 minutes and can be picked up and dropped off anywhere bike parking is allowed. To access a bike, a rider would unlock the nearest bike via Bluetooth.
Ofo is working closely with Hackney Council to ensure that its service integrates with the existing cycling infrastructure in the borough.
Hackney Councillor Feryal Demirci, Cabinet member for neighbourhoods, transports and parks, said: “This new type of bike sharing has the potential to change the way in which London moves for the better, by providing affordable bike sharing to everyone in Hackney.
“We are going to work with Ofo to make sure that users are given information on locations where they can park their bikes in hot spot areas to prevent issues such as obstructing the footway and parking on busy narrow pavements.”
Ofo say their marshals will be on hand seven days a week to answer any questions and ensure the bikes are being parked responsibly. The company has also been awarded accreditation by Bikeplus, the UK representative body for bike sharing. Ofo says it engages with the cycling community as well, and works with local bike shops to maintain its bikes.
The bikes have already had a positive reaction from the public:
— Shaun Walsh (@shaunewalsh) September 23, 2017
Hackney is known for its cycle-friendly attitude, where 1 in 7 residents use a bike to get to work. Last year a designer based in the borough, Jean Jullien, designed the bike for another free cycling scheme ‘Buzzbikes’.
Joseph Seal-Driver, Ofo’s UK Operations Director, said in a press release: “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 ease London’s perennial problems with congestion and pollution.”