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.
Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.