(Xinhua file photo)
Chinese bike-sharing company Mobike on Monday announced the launch of its popular service in London, starting in the West London borough of Ealing.
The launch comes hot on the heels of Mobike's success in launching the UK's first council and community backed bicycle sharing scheme in Manchester just a few weeks ago.
The launch is the result of a sustained collaboration between Mobike, Ealing council and other local stakeholders, the company said in a statement released Monday. "Mobike's sustainable and affordable solution will be Ealing's very first smart and dockless bike share scheme, and is designed to benefit users, local business and communities, as well as the council itself," the statement said.
Ealing will see Mobike launching with an initial 750 bikes in September, with that number expected to increase to meet the growing demand for the service.
Steve Pyer, UK General Manager for Mobike, said: "We're excited to be the first council and community-backed dockless bike-sharing scheme coming to London. Mobike is committed to help develop the bike sharing culture across the globe through its discussions and collaboration with cities -- and London is key in achieving this."
"We're committed to working closely with Ealing and other boroughs to make Mobike, and bike-sharing as a whole, a successful experience for Londoners," he added.
The company said the locals will be able to pick up and ride Mobikes around the city at any time with the innovative dockless scheme, by simply downloading the Mobike app, finding a nearby Mobike and scanning a QR code. To complete their ride, users only need to park the bike at any authorized bike parking area near their destination and manually close the lock on the bike.
According to Mobike, its bikes are designed with a series of proprietary high-tech features that no other bike-sharing company provides. Every Mobike is equipped with unique smart-lock technology and built-in GPS connected via the Mobike IoT network, which helps locate and monitor the conditions of each bike to ensure a constant supply and quality experience for users.
Additionally, the data it generates can provide invaluable urban transportation insights for cities and local communities, to manage location-based bike demand and inform infrastructure planning.
"We help increasing the attractiveness of remote areas by making it possible for people to complete a few more kilometers through cycling -- contributing to the creation of new business and locals friendly spaces. We pride ourselves in being a truly positive and enduring benefit for the areas that we work in. That was the case in Manchester, and we're confident it will be the case in London, starting with Ealing," Pyre added.
Councillor Julian Bell, leader of Ealing Council, said: "We want to give as many people as possible the opportunity to try cycling so I'm excited by the arrival of Mobike. We have a wide range of cycling support already in place, including free cycle training, free maintenance checks and free guided bike tours, and this affordable, dockless bike scheme will complement all these."
"This scheme works best when everyone plays their part in using and parking the bikes responsibly so as not to block the pavement for others. We have a wonderful community in Ealing and I am sure our residents will use the scheme with consideration for others. I look forward to seeing more residents leave their cars at home and switch to a Mobike instead," he added.
According to Mobike, its bikes have been warmly welcomed and endorsed by local authorities in all the cities it has come to, with strong support from the transport department of Greater Manchester, the mayors of Salford and Manchester, and the respective councils.
Mobike was also launched in Italy last week, with the support of the mayors of both Florence and Milan, who joined Hu Weiwei, the founder and president of Mobike, to cycle around the city following the launch in Florence on Monday.