After nine months of running in Norwich, the bicycle sharing company Ofo has decided to remove its fleet of 1,000 yellow bicycles from the city’s streets this summer. The company has said they will instead be focusing on “other key UK markets”, such as London.
The company, which described itself as the first dockless bike sharing scheme in the world, said that although hire numbers in Norwich “started high and remained strong”, the app has not been used enough to keep the firm in the city.
Ofo was launched in China in 2014, and now has over 200 million registered users sharing 10 million bicycles worldwide. Around 200,000 of Ofo’s customers are based in the UK.
Joseph Seal-Driver, the general manager of Ofo UK, said “The reception to our launch in Norwich was fantastic and we’ve seen a huge amount of hires. Unfortunately, we’ve taken the difficult decision to withdraw form the city and focus on other key markets.”
In March this year, Mr Seal-Driver said Ofo were delighted with their Launch in Norwich, and added the company was “pleased with how the bikes have been received by locals.” But unfortunately, even despite the regular use of UEA and NUA students, the app was not used enough to keep running in Norwich.
Ofo will now focus on providing its service in London, where it has already signed partnership schemes to operate in 10 boroughs. The app claims this gives it twice the coverage of its nearest competitor, and three times the coverage of the current Santander Cycles scheme.
Ofo seems to have a greater potential for positive effects in more urban areas like London, with studies showing that 19 of the 20 Chinese cities the app operates in seeing a reduction in traffic congestion.
In December last year, Concrete reviewed the yellow bikes ourselves to see how useful the scheme would be for students.