Bike sharer reverses its wheels
Chinese bike sharing service Ofo is changing gear and wheeling back internationally on its dockless rollouts.
In the US, for one, the company had gone ahead full steam and launched in 30 cities, putting more than 40,000 of its bicycles on the streets. Now it’s aiming to retreat to just a few major metros.
Putting a positive spin on the move, Ofo says that it is looking to ‘prioritise’ its US operations in locations offering the best growth prospects. One of those is now New York, where it was recently chosen for a dockless bike-share trial in the Bronx.
Ofo is also reducing its operations in the UK, Italy and Spain to focus, likewise, on key cities. It’s also going as far as to shut up shop in Israel, Czech Republic, Germany, India and Australia, as it seeks to cut costs.
In June, the company reported that it had deployed 15m million bikes in over 300 cities around the globe. Those metrics are set to slim down sharply.
Dockless bike firms have been slated pretty much everywhere for cluttering the streets, while the two-wheelers have be stolen, vandalised… and in Munich turned into art objects.
And the core problem is, when operators fill the streets with bikes that don’t seem to belong anywhere or to anyone, it’s like a free-for-all inviting lawlessness on the part of citizens.