Ofo has announced that it is to start operating in the London borough of Redbridge, the fourth local authority in the capital to have entered a partnership with the China-based dockless bike hire giant.
There are already 1,000 of Ofo’s distinctive yellow bicycles in London, and 125 will be added in Redbridge, which lies in north east London.
Ofo will be joined in the borough when it launches there on 2 March by fellow dockless bike hire scheme Urbo, says Redbridge Council.
The Irish business already operates in neighbouring Waltham Forest, while Ofo is present in the City of London, Hackney and Islington, where it faces competition from Singapore-based rival Mobike, whose bicycles are also available in Ealing.
Councillor John Howard, Redbridge Council’s cabinet member for environment and sustainability, commented: “The new dockless bike scheme is an accessible and affordable way to get people more active and reduce air pollution in the borough.
“The partnership with Ofo and Urbo is a really exciting opportunity to make the borough greener, providing an option for sustainable travel. I can’t wait to start using them!”
The news comes a week after Ofo welcomed a London Assembly report which called for tighter regulation of dockless bike hire scheme operators in the capital as well as recommending that consideration be given to allowing a small number of them to operate across the city, including in Outer London boroughs.
Ofo’s UK general manager, Joseph Seal-Driver, said: “We’re delighted that ofo has been selected to run a bike-sharing scheme in Redbridge.
“Our bikes have proven hugely successful across London and in other UK cities, and it’s particularly positive to be bringing Redbridge’s residents their first cycle hire scheme.
“This will give people more options for clean, green travel.
“We will be working collaboratively with Urbo and the council to ensure the residents receive the best possible service.
“Competition is healthy and ultimately benefits the public,” he added.
Last year, Ofo entered a partnership with the London Cycling Campaign whose chief executive, Ashok Sinha, said: “It’s great news to see dockless cycle hire arriving in Redbridge.
“Convenient and affordable access to cycles on demand will play a very important role in bringing the benefits of cycling to London and Londoners – and the best way to achieve this is by responsible operators working in partnership with boroughs in the way that Ofo and Redbridge have announced today.”
Founded by students at Beijing University in 2014, Ofo now has 200 million users in 21 countries worldwide, with 10 million bikes available in 250 cities.
The UK became its third country of operation and the first outside Asia last year when it launched in Cambridge, following earlier expansion to Singapore.
It has since launched in Oxford, Norwich and Sheffield, and will is due to start operating in Leeds shortly.
Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.