By Lyndsey Hall
Beijing-based bicycle sharing company Ofo is bringing its bike share scheme to Sheffield this month.
In the latest step towards making Sheffield a cashless society, the mobile phone operated bike loan scheme requires users to download a free app which will then allow them to locate and unlock a nearby bike, before charging 50p per thirty minutes of use, capped at £5 per day. The bright yellow bikes can be picked up and left at most public spaces, subject to the user guidance to park bikes using their fitted bike stand so they don’t cause problems for pedestrians and other highway users.
Councillor Jack Scott, Cabinet Member for Transport and Sustainability said, “This will be the first public dockless bike share scheme in Yorkshire, and Ofo’s first in the north of England.”
Ofo’s Sheffield operations manager Adam Rose said, “With an initial launch of over 1,000 bikes across Sheffield, we think this will also be the biggest launch of share bikes so far in the UK.”
The company’s plan for a night-time roll out in the run up to Christmas will see hundreds of yellow bikes appear on the streets of Sheffield literally overnight.
Due to Sheffield’s abundance of hills, the share bikes will include a three speed Shimano gear hub. Users can cycle wherever they like, but after their ride they must return the bike to a defined area, which will initially stretch from the city centre to Sheffield University, Northern General, Meadowhall and Dore Station. This area may expand depending on user demand.
“This is a truly exciting opportunity and exactly where we need to be going as a city, bringing convenient, safe, low-cost cycling to almost everyone. Ofo are an absolutely great company, and by working together we can achieve even more for Sheffield, such as Bikeability cycle training for adults and children. This will help us to tackle some big issues like poor air quality, obesity and congestion all in one go,” said Councillor Scott.
The scheme won’t cost the council a penny, and Sheffield will be joining 180 other cities worldwide that host the scheme, including London, Oxford and Cambridge, and cities across China, Australia and the US.
Are you excited about the bike share scheme coming to Sheffield? How will it impact on your daily commute? Leave us a comment below or join the conversation on Twitter.