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Bike-sharing company Ofo to leave Norwich

PUBLISHED: 16:59 10 July 2018 | UPDATED: 15:33 11 July 2018

Ofo bikes on Prince of Wales Road. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Ofo bikes on Prince of Wales Road. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Archant

Bike-sharing company Ofo is to leave Norwich.

The company – which launched in Norwich, its fourth UK location, nine months ago – said it will remove its 1,000 dockless bikes from the city’s streets over the summer to focus on “other key UK markets”, specifically London.

Although hire numbers had “started high and remained strong” in Norwich, it was not enough to keep the firm in the city.

Joseph Seal-Driver, general manager of Ofo UK, said: “The reception to our launch in Norwich was fantastic and we’ve seen a huge amount of hires. Unfortunately, we’ve taken the difficult decision to withdraw from the city and focus on other key markets.”

Speaking to the Norfolk Network in April, Ofo head of operations Matthew Thomas-Keeping sang Norwich’s praises as a city for bike-sharing and claimed that people in the city “think it is a good way to operate”.

Ofo began in China in 2014 and now has 200 million registered users – around 200,000 of whom are in the UK – and 10 million bikes around the world.

As part of its mission to focus on the capital, Ofo has signed partnerships to operate in 10 boroughs, which it claims gives it twice the coverage of its nearest bike-sharing competitor and three times that of the existing Santander Cycles scheme.

Ofo said its services “has opened up a clean, green and cheap way to get around the city for millions of Londoners”.

Studies have shown Ofo’s potential positive effects in urban areas, with 19 of to 20 Chinese cities it operates in having seen a reduction in traffic congestion.


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