Saturday, April 29, 2017
New Sort of Bike Share ? Maybe
ofo bikes in New York City, not for use but for a press event (it seems)
Here is the press release about "UNDP [United Nations Development Programme], Chinese bike-sharing start-up ofo join forces to support innovative solutions to climate change challenges."
An article in the Economist ("The Return of Pedal Power...") last week described a new (to me at least, but not entirely new it seems) bike share system that frees users from having to get or leave the bikes from fixed locking stations, rather a rider gets to a destination and locks the bike wherever, then other users can find it there and access it for their use with a smartphone app.
The ofo system is in use in China and Singapore and also San Francisco - in SF it is known as BlueGoGo. Not surprisingly there is a web site.
The Bluegogo Medium channel has a step-by-step description of the process for San Francisco usage. However the SF model, apparently reflecting a lack of enthusiasm for the "leave your bike any old place" model in a US city, does have docking stations - "When you finish the ride, easily return your bluegogo bike to any of the stations (list of bluegogo stations can be found within the app or here) and lock it." Except the link to a map for the stations is 404. Not very encouraging.
U.S. video of how to use BlueGoGo bikeshare bikes, which does not mention use of locking stations
Generic ofo instructions for accessing a bike in China without a docking station
After I published this blog post, then I found this blog post that explains more about BlueGoGo and its dockless competitor that is a company called Spin which is looking at setting up in Seattle, where the most recent publicly operated bike share failed.