ofo, the world’s first and largest station-free bike sharing company has announced its launch into the Australian market. ofo has chosen Adelaide as the first city in Australia to benefit from a staged national roll-out of its leading dockless bike-sharing network via a carefully managed pilot program. Australia marks ofo’s first market in the Southern Hemisphere as part of its ambitious plan to operate in 20 countries by the end of 2017.
The City of Adelaide has welcomed ofo to Adelaide, granting the company the first permit for a bike share company to operate in the city. This is also a national first, with ofo becoming the first operator in Australia to receive an official licence.
The first batch of an initial 50 bicycles will be deployed in the city centre and North Adelaide to enable ofo’s local operations team to work in close collaboration with government and community stakeholders, to get the settings right before expanding the fleet.
Why is ofo necessary in Australia?
Australia has a clear need for simple, sustainable, shareable transport in its metropolitan centres, and ofo is committed to providing a quality product and service to play its part in improving urban transport and supporting low-carbon travel across Australia and in the world’s major cities.
With more than 10 million bikes in over 180 cities across 13 countries, ofo is generating over 25 million daily transactions and has provided over 200 million global users with 4 billion efficient, convenient and environmentally-friendly rides.
“Having identified Australia as a market with significant transport gaps and a clear need for better short distance point-to-point transport solutions, ofo is carefully rolling out our service, one location at a time, in collaboration with government and cycling stakeholders,” said Scott Walker, Head of Strategy, ofo Australia.
“We are determined to be the first bike share platform to launch in Australia the ‘right way’, with sufficient local resourcing from day one to ensure that all bikes are maintained, re-distributed appropriately, have a helmet and are parked properly,” said Walker.
How exactly will ofo work?
Demonstrating ofo’s commitment to responsible bike sharing, ofo will feature ‘preferred parking zones’ visible on a map in the ofo app. The bikes also utilise GPS enabled geofence technology, called an ‘operating fence’, which guides users to park bikes within the current area in which ofo is operating and where the pre-determined preferred parking zones are located. Users can also report a missing helmet or faulty bike in the app.
Residents and visitors will be able to rent and park bikes in places that comply with local laws for as little as $1.00 for 30 minutes, with an individual ride cap of $5.00.
ofo is also developing a credit system that will reward users who use ofo bicycles correctly whilst deducting points from the few who do not follow ofo parking rules and recommendations, demonstrating the company’s commitment to building a workable bike sharing model that benefits all Australians.
Founded in 2014, ofo is the world’s first and largest station-free bicycle sharing platform. ofo aims to unlock every corner of the world by making bikes accessible to everyone.
ofo partnered with the United Nations Development Programme in April 2017 to support the Sustainable Development Goals and has launched a partnership with Rihanna’s Clara Lionel Foundation to donate bikes and provide scholarships for school girls in Malawi. ofo also raised $700 million in its Series E funding led by Alibaba, Hony Capital and CITIC Private Equity in July this year.