Proliferation of bike sharing schemes


by Tony Walker March 10, 2018

For riding less than 30 minutes which most people are, they are an ideal and quick way of getting around London and the many Cities covered. There are two "types" those with a fixed docking station (TFLs Santander bikes) and the rest. The current Hedkayse favourites are TFL and Ofo, but trying others and will report. Stay safe and wear a suitable helmet!

TFL’s Santander sponsored bikes (formerly Barclays bikes or better known as "Boris Bikes") have been in operation in London the longest and introduced the bike share scheme concept to many. There are two methods of use:

  • The casual user – purchase a £2 hire pass for 24 hours and use a bike from a docking station for 30 mins free of charge
  • Membership – buy an annual £90 token that allows the unlocking of a bike and all bike use is free for the first 30 mins

The scheme is in London only and the hire and return of the bikes is to/from docking stations only (750 across Greater London) with some 11500 bikes in use. An app provides details of bike location (55mb)

Similar schemes exist in many cities globally Velib in Paris, Divvy in Chicago, Citibikes in New York, CityBike in Liverpool and Bike Share Toronto to name a few (many have the same type of bike). Sign up here

OfoBikes are one of the new entrants with their distinctive bright yellow bikes, and are part of the dockless bike group – pick-up and park the bike anywhere. They are an app based system (37mb) that allows you to scan a QR code on an available bike and unlock it to use (you manually lock it at the end of the journey). The costs are 50p for 30mins after making a deposit with the App. To reduce bad behaviour and losses the systems credit scores you in terms of where you park (best to park in a designated area) and not outside of main zones in London (defined on the app), high scores keep the cost low. They have launched globally, but in UK count London, Cambridge, Oxford, Norwich and Sheffield as Cities covered by the scheme. The app shows available bikes at a high level and updates as you scroll around the map. Sign up here

Mobikes – their bright orange wheeled bikes are another new entrant to the dockless bike group, they where the first dockless smart bike share scheme. The pick-up and park anywhere model is launched globally but in UK has also been opened in Newcastle, Manchester and Oxford as well as London. The app based technology (90mb) allows the scanning of the QR code on a bike to then unlock the bike for use and manual locking at end of journey. The costs are 50p per 30 mins and deposit is required on account set-up. There are preferred parking locations and bad behaviours and good behaviours are scored to give an overall credit rating as a user, either the costs will rise or you are barred if score is too low. The map within the app does not refresh as well as the other schemes and you often have to hunt to find a bike - as opposed to being shown where the nearest is.  Sign up here

Urbo - the bright green wheeled bikes. An Irish company have only London as a destination in the UK for their bikes, I admit to not having seen one of these yet, as based in the Walthamstow and Enfield area. The use an app based solution to provide a pin code to unlock the bikes and then manually lock the bike at journey end. Once again they use a credit score type system to encourage good behaviour and have designated parking areas. The cost are 50p per 30 mins and a deposit is required. The app very quickly shows available bikes at a high level and as you scroll around the map, although bike numbers seems small in a wide area of Greater London. Sign up here

Obike – another bright orange wheeled bike another new entrant to the dockless bike group. A global player started out in Singapore and relatively new to London; although at this time most seem to be out or service. They launched in October in Oxford. The app based technology allows the scanning of the QR code on a bike to then unlock the bike for use and manual locking at end of journey. The costs are 50p per 30 mins and deposit is required on account set-up. The bikes can be parked anywhere – with no encouragement for “preferred parking zones”.

We haven't tried these out yet - picture to come!

 




Tony Walker
Tony Walker

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