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All 1,000 Mobikes removed from Manchester... but they'll be back, and in greater numbers

Bikes must now be parked within smaller geographic area but firm says this will expand as it adds more bikes

Mobike has apologised to its users after abruptly removing all of its Manchester bikes from service. The dockless bike share firm says it is updating its system but will actually be increasing its presence as even more go back onto the city’s streets.

Steve Pyer, the firm’s UK general manager, told the Manchester Evening News that the aim is to ensure ‘bike density’ for users.

"The trial finishes in five weeks and we've learnt a lot in that time. Greater Manchester is a very big area and we've found that if we have a thousand bikes spread out to its four corners, it's labour intensive bringing them back in."

The bikes will return from today and users will also start to see preferred drop-off and pick-up locations within the app.

In a statement, Mobike added that bikes would need to be parked within a smaller geo-fenced area at the end of each journey from now on.

Mobike Manchester geo-fenced area.jpg

 

The change will be a disappointment to many users as the area in question isn’t a great deal larger than the city centre at present.

The firm explained: “Distributing bikes in a new, more concentrated area will better ensure that Mobikers can easily find a Mobike when they are in the operating zone. Over the coming months, we will gradually increase the number of bikes as well as the size of the geographic area to include more parts of the city.”

It added that users were allowed to ride outside this area but would be asked to park within it or risk losing Mobike points on the app. Users with scores lower than 80 are subjected to a massive price hike.

The changes reflect recommendations made by the European Cyclists Federation in its position paper on the rise of dockless bike-sharing.

Explaining the lack of communication with the public, Pyer said: "It's a bit embarrassing really. We've had these plans in the background but the operations team starting carrying it out before we had our communications in line.

"There's been lots of rumours because we didn't put the right messaging out and I'm really sorry about that. We are absolutely committed to Manchester and we met with Chris Boardman today to reiterate that. We are committed to making it better and putting our learning into place in Manchester."

Boardman hoping to unveil cycle strategy next month

Sustrans’ recent Bike Life report has revealed that 77 per cent of Mancunians want to see more space for cycling, even if it’s detrimental to road traffic.

The region’s Cycling and Walking Commissioner, Chris Boardman, told the MEN that he has drawn up proposals for cycle infrastructure and they are now with mayor Andy Burnham’s office.

Boardman is hoping to launch his strategy next month and says the high profile segregated lane on Oxford Road should be the template.

“If you ask anyone – someone sitting in their car, a woman taking their kids to school – ‘what would you ride a bike on?’ it fundamentally looks like Oxford Road.”

He said the timeline for delivering cycle infrastructure would be as ‘quick as possible and as long as necessary’.

“I don’t care if it takes a long time, but I do care if it’s done properly.”

Alex has written for more cricket publications than the rest of the road.cc team combined. Despite the apparent evidence of this picture, he doesn't especially like cake.

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7 comments

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pmanc | 6 years ago
1 like

I've just uninstalled the app. I used them a couple of times to get in from the University to the city centre (a distance of about one mile). But if I can't even do that it's pointless.

Notably, the Oxford Road corridor is the location of all the universities , the brand new cycleways, all the students (ie early adopters with smartphones living and studying within 3 miles of the city centre), the major central hospitals (also about a mile out) and a couple of notable parks.

If they can't even cover that area it makes me wonder what the scheme is for. It's just a shame they raised everyone's expectations to then disappoint people now.

Avatar
mrchrispy | 6 years ago
1 like

more and more of the bikes had been scroteified (ie locks ripped off) and were becoming the defacto chav run about town. 

Now hardly worth using with the zone that small, oh well, im out until sorted. 

Avatar
check12 | 6 years ago
0 likes

Salford quays is outside that area, the horror!

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Kapelmuur | 6 years ago
0 likes

I've seen them in Altrincham, about 10 miles from the city centre.

Avatar
davel replied to Kapelmuur | 6 years ago
0 likes
Kapelmuur wrote:

I've seen them in Altrincham, about 10 miles from the city centre.

In the summer, one was at the top of Arthog Road in Hale Barns for a couple of days.

I know someone who rode one from town back home to Urmston, then parked it down an alley so he could use it for the pub the next day. That kind of use probably isn't sustainable, but surely it's seriously limiting to expect all journeys to start and end within the new boundary...

Avatar
CygnusX1 replied to davel | 6 years ago
0 likes
davel wrote:
Kapelmuur wrote:

I've seen them in Altrincham, about 10 miles from the city centre.

In the summer, one was at the top of Arthog Road in Hale Barns for a couple of days.

I know someone who rode one from town back home to Urmston, then parked it down an alley so he could use it for the pub the next day. That kind of use probably isn't sustainable, but surely it's seriously limiting to expect all journeys to start and end within the new boundary...

I remember seeing that one on Arthog Road.  Quite often seen one parked near Brooklands and Sale tram stops and not uncommon to see them dotted about Alty, Sale, Ashton on Mersey 

Avatar
Arno du Galibier | 6 years ago
0 likes

What a f*ck up. This is very dissapointing for something that started very well. If the current geofence remains, there will be very little points to many users. Lots of students use the bikes and the main University campus is outside the zone.

In the early days of the scheme I was made up to see the bikes go as far as Chorlton and Trafford, showing there was a real interest to use those bikes across the city. As it stands, I would have very little interest in the scheme (notwithstanding the fact that it looked like only 2 bikes were available across the whole of Manchester for the last few days), and may well give up on it and get my deposit back.

 

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