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Chinese bike sharing company ofo arrives in Oxford following launch in Seattle
China’s leading bike sharing company ofo has begun providing services in Oxford, after acquiring permission from local authorities, according to a company press release on Monday, the Xinhua News Agency reported.
 
The company has launched 100 bikes with the signature yellow color on the city’s streets and the number of bikes is expected to grow in accordance with the local residents’ need.
 
Unlike the Chinese market, ofo bikes for Oxford will charge no deposit and a ride for each 30 minutes will cost 50 pence, Xinhua reported.
 
Joseph Seal-Driver, UK director at Ofo, said: “We’re extremely excited to be entering a city that is actively demonstrating a passion for cycling and tackling air pollution and congestion.”
 
According to the Economic Information Daily, a news outlet under the Xinhua News Agency, ofo is the first dockless bike share company fully accredited with Bikeplus, an umbrella organization for Britain’s bike-sharing schemes with a set of standards approved by local authorities. 
 
The report quoted Antonia Roberts, director of Bike Plus, as saying that she felt it was important “that there is a mechanism for maintaining high standards” during a time of “rapid growth” within the bike-sharing market.
 
While local authorities welcoming dockless bike share companies, some organizations including Oxfordshire County Council, Oxford City Council and other partners are also planning to set up a code of conduct for the companies, according to the Oxford Times.
 
“We are committed to working with partner organizations including Oxford City Council and the University of Oxford to ensure dockless cycle operators are aware of our code of conduct for the benefit of all local residents and visitors,” councilor Suzanne Bartington, Oxfordshire County Council’s cycling champion, said of the code of conduct plan. “We believe that, if introduced in the right way, dockless bikes can provide a convenient travel option, encouraging more people to travel by bike.”
 
Last month, the company successfully rolled out in Cambridge. 
 
Ofo’s launch into Oxford came just three days after it officially set foot in Seattle, with the first batch of 1,000 bicycles dotted around the city. The company is the third one providing dockless rides for residents in the city following its two other competitors Spin and LimeBike. In addition, the company is also challenged by some other local laws imposed on cycling in the city which is a testing ground for bike sharing industry in the US.
 
Even so, the company’s 26-year-old CEO Dai Wei is still confident about ofo’s future in Seattle. During a press release for ofo’s launch in Seattle, Dai said that the company chose Seattle partly because of its "infinite possibilities." The city is home to industry giants such as Microsoft, Amazon, Boeing and Starbucks.
 
Dai launched ofo in Beijing in 2014 and gave his company that name because the word resembles the shape of a bicycle. It now operates in more than 170 cities in eight countries including China, Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, Kazakhstan, the United Kingdom, the US and Japan, and is planning to operate 20 million bikes in 200 cities in 20 countries and regions by the end of 2017.
 
Its major domestic rival Mobike has begun operations in Italy, Singapore and Britain, according to Xinhua.
 

 


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