Chinese bike-sharing giant Mobike rolled out in Sydney on Tuesday, the latest company to offer the alternative mode of transport for Australian commuters facing high-density development.
The Beijing-based company will initially put 500 bikes on the city's roads, where users will be able to activate the vehicles with their mobile devices and ride them for free with a one-Australian dollar deposit in November.
Speaking at the launch event downtown in front of the Museum of Sydney, Mobike Australia General Manager Mina Nada said the rollout will be at the city's Green Square area, where there will be many commuters facing packed buses and trains.
"In consultation with the City of Sydney, we've heard that there was a real crunch on availability of public transport... Green Square is going to be Australia's most densely populated area. So we're servicing a population that is underserviced with transportation options and also has a variety of socioeconomic levels; young people as well, who have less car ownership," Nada said.
There are more than 4,000 dockless bikes in Sydney with other operators including Reddy Go, oBike, Airbike and ofo, according to a City of Sydney spokesperson.
"We understand more than 60,000 people have downloaded bike sharing apps in Sydney," said the spokesperson, adding that city authorities have received 29 queries and complaints about bike sharing in three months to the end of September. Concerns about the service include how the bikes are being left on streets and other undesignated spots.
The New South Wales state transport authorities are "working out" how to appropriately manage bike sharing and the city continues to stress "concerns about safety, redistribution of bikes and accessibility on footpaths, and have found operators to be responsive to public queries and complaints", said its spokesperson.
Mobike also recently successfully bid for providing bike-sharing services on Australia's Gold Coast area in Queensland state. The company operates more than 7 million bikes in about 190 cities, including those in China, Singapore, Italy, Japan, Britain and the United States.