Bike sharing giant Mobike will quickly follow competitor Obike by launching dockless bike sharing in London.
Following an earlier council-backed launch in Manchester, the debut in the capital will land in the West London borough of Ealing by September with a total of 750 bikes available from launch. That number will increase with demand, according to the firm.
Steve Pyer, UK General Manager for Mobike, said: “We’re excited to be the first council and community-backed dockless bike-sharing scheme coming to London. Mobike is committed to help develop the bike sharing culture across the globe through its discussions and collaboration with cities – and London is key in achieving this. We’re committed to working closely with Ealing and other boroughs to make Mobike, and bike-sharing as a whole, a successful experience for Londoners.”
The schemes are causing some contention however, both with local authorities and within the bicycle business where the hugely enhanced availability of cheap bicycles is slowing sales in the lower end of the market.
London users will enjoy the same initial discounted deposit as Manchester users when they sign up – £29. Users are then charged 50p for 30 minutes.
Helen Pidd writes on the Guardian that vandalism, carefree disposal and even assumed ownership is wreaking havoc in Manchester.
Users can hire a Mobike simply downloading the Mobike app, finding a nearby Mobike and scanning a QR code. To complete their ride, users need only park the bike at any authorised bike parking area near their destination and manually close the lock on the bike.
According to the firm every Mobike is equipped with unique smart-lock technology and built-in GPS connected via the Mobike IoT network, which helps locate and monitor the health of each bike to ensure a constant supply and quality experience for users.
Additionally, the data generated can provide invaluable urban transportation insights for cities and local communities, to manage location-based bike demand and inform infrastructure planning.
Mobike also launched in Italy last week, with the support of the mayors of both Florence and Milan, who joined Mobike founder and president Hu Weiwei to cycle around the city following a launch event in Florence.