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Yellow army! Dockless bike share company ofo to launch in Norwich

PUBLISHED: 00:06 30 October 2017 | UPDATED: 00:06 30 October 2017

Norwich is to become the fourth UK city to host the bike sharing service. Picture: ofo UK

Norwich is to become the fourth UK city to host the bike sharing service. Picture: ofo UK

ofo UK

Its distinctive yellow bikes have become a feature of 180 cities across the world - and are already the right colour for our legions of Canaries fans.

The ofo bikes are dockless, meaning they can be picked up or dropped off from anywhere that a bike can be legally parked. Picture: ofo UKThe ofo bikes are dockless, meaning they can be picked up or dropped off from anywhere that a bike can be legally parked. Picture: ofo UK

And today Norwich will join the likes of Cambridge, Oxford and London in welcoming dockless bike-sharing company ofo’s cycles to the city.

It is hoped the Beijing company’s arrival in the fine city - the fourth city in the UK to get ofo bikes - will encourage more people to use two wheels.

Unlike the so-called “Boris bikes” in London, ofo’s bikes can be picked up or dropped off from anywhere that a bike can be legally parked. By downloading the ofo app, users will be able 
to locate bikes near them and unlock them via bluetooth, completing their ride by re-locking the bike upon arrival at their destination.

Joseph Seal-Driver, ofo’s UK operations director, said: “We’re delighted to announce ofo’s arrival in Norwich, which will provide residents with flexible, convenient and affordable transport options – transforming the way cyclists get around the city for the better.”

The world’s first and largest dockless bike sharing company is launching in Norwich. Picture: ofo UKThe world’s first and largest dockless bike sharing company is launching in Norwich. Picture: ofo UK

Cllr Mike Stonard said: “Cycling in the city has gone from strength to strength over recent years, making us an obvious choice for a hire scheme such as this. ofo has a good track record and we will work with them and county colleagues to monitor progress as the bikes come into use.”

For the first two weeks, riders will be able to use the bikes free of charge. After this, a charge of 50p for every ride under 30mins will be introduced. All bikes have three gears, adjustable seats, lights and a basket.

The service will operate within a ergonomically tailored ‘geofenced’ area around the city, which will be viewable on the app, and will encompass the likes of UEA, NNUH and the John Innes Centre. Bikes can be parked outside the geofence but must be returned within 12 hours.

The app employs a rating system, similar to Uber and eBay, whereby riders who contravene the terms of use can be marked down and ultimately banned from using the service.

Initially, 200 bikes will be available, with the fleet gradually increasing to 350 over the coming weeks. The company will employ 10 marshalls tasked with maintaining bikes and assisting customers . This workforce is likely to double in size.

ofo, founded in 2014, has a global fleet of 10m bikes.

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