China’s foremost bike-sharing company, Mobike which has its mainstay within Asia with over 5 million users, looks to score yet another point with the purported launch of its base in England, Manchester and Salford to be precise. The launch is billed for June 29 and is expected to start with 1,000 bikes- a figure that should put Ofo [another Chinese bike-sharing startup] on their toes even considering that they have already beaten Mobike to the top spot in setting up a base in England long before now. Notwithstanding, these two are well funded by their respective backers: Ofo’s revenue racks up to the tune of $450 million and it is being funded by Didi Chuxing and DST among other investors while Mobike’s revenue is in the range of $300 million with backers like Foxconn and Tencent.
Going further, due to the ease of accessing a bike through an app that works in tandem with the integrated GPS system, these two [bike-sharing startups] have often been referred to as the ‘Uber of bikes’. Additionally, this ease also reflects in the fact that the bikes are dock-less unlike what is obtainable with Boris Johnson’s Santander Cycles but this does not mean that the bikes are not secured in their positions- they have smart locks hence you will need to first go through the app in order to access one. Ofo and Mobike are not in anyway stepping their feet off the gas in ensuring that the initiative of bike-sharing subsides in England and this can be drawn out from the statement of Ofo’s U.K director of Operations, Joseph Seal-Driver who intimated that his company hopes to be in three (3) cities by year ending. And as Mobike in its maiden year [of operations] starts off- with a 6 month trial run- in two (2) different cities with a great number of bikes, one could very well say that bike-sharing just start getting bigger and trendier.
However, a downside that has now been highlighted in this setup is the aspect of having piles of bikes impeding the movement of other road users. To curtail this problem, Mobike has been working with the city councils of Manchester and Salford and Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM); Andy Burnham, the mayor of Greater Manchester spoke on the need to implement a code of working to ensure smooth flow of traffic. Also, Mobike has enjoined its users to report illegally parked bikes that have the company’s insignia on them.
With Mobike coming to England, more bikes are at your disposal and you get to move around the cities on the pedals…take that ride!