The world’s first dockless hire scheme, ofo, will launch in Leeds on Tuesday 15 May with a fleet of 1,000 bikes.
The Leeds scheme will focus initially on the city centre, expanding into suburbs and nearby towns shortly after.
The scheme will be ofo’s second in Yorkshire after launching in Sheffield in January, and add to existing operations in Cambridge, Oxford, Norwich and London. In Sheffield alone, over 28,000 trips have been made on ofo bikes so far, with figures showing almost a 20% rise from January to February.
Leeds residents will be able to hire a lightweight, three-speed bike with the click of a button via the ofo smartphone app, ride it anywhere in the city and lock it again for just 50p for a 30 minute journey.
The entire fleet will be fitted with bright dynamo front lights, solar-powered rear lights and a handy front basket. They also have a hydraulically-adjusted seatpost so riders of all heights can get comfortable in seconds.
The company is leading the way on responsible operation of dockless bike sharing, working closely with Leeds City Council to ensure the scheme provides a valuable and reliable service for the public. The company also employs marshals on the Living Wage to manage its fleet in all cities it operates in.
The bike sharing scheme is the first of its kind in Leeds and will offer greater transport choice. ofo is committed to getting people cycling and will be providing Bikeability training to encourage new and lapsed riders to try the scheme and ride more often.
ofo is the first station-free platform operating in the UK to be awarded accreditation by Bikeplus, the UK representative body for bike sharing. A Living Wage employer, ofo also engages with the cycling community, and works with local bike shops to maintain its bikes.
ofo is committed to upholding high standards of service at all times and has a ‘UK Charter’ that details safety specifications, community principles, responsible business practices and general service guidance. The minimum age for ofo users is 16, as set out in the Charter.
How it works
ofo’s eye-catching yellow bikes are hired through a smartphone app for just 50p for 30 minutes and can be picked up and dropped off anywhere that bike parking is allowed. ofo does not require riders to pay a deposit before use. To access a bike, riders can simply download the ofo app and unlock their nearest bike via Bluetooth connection. Once their ride is complete, users simply close the lock to complete their ride and make it available for the next person to use.
ofo also employs geofencing technology to ensure that riders use the bikes within the designated ‘Home Zone’ which is clearly visible in the app.
From launch day, ofo will have a team of ‘marshals’ available seven days a week to answer any questions from users and ensure the service runs smoothly and that bikes are being parked responsibly.