A SECOND dockless bike-share operator, Mobike, is to trial its hire bikes in Cambridge, following the arrival of its competitor Ofo’s yellow bikes last year.
Mobike advised Cambridge City Council that it would started a trial this week with 25 bikes on the city’s streets, building up to 100 over the course of a month as they establish their presence.
There is currently no legislation in place to control how public bike-sharing schemes such as these operate in the UK, but the council has been in close contact with both companies to understand their business plans and help them to make sure their operations are fit for Cambridge.
Council officers have emphasised to both Ofo and Mobike representatives the importance of ensuring bike-sharing schemes in Cambridge are run in a sustainable way and offer a positive experience for customers and the wider public that fits in with other travel options.
Mobike has given an assurance that it will operate in accordance with Cambridge Joint Area Committee’s recently adopted voluntary code of conduct on dockless bike-sharing and that they will address any problems quickly.
Cllr Kevin Blencowe, Executive Councillor for Planning Policy and Transport, said: “We are committed to encouraging cycling in Cambridge because it’s a healthy, environmentally-friendly mode of transport.
“I am pleased that Mobike has given assurances about signing-up to the voluntary code of conduct. We will work with them to make sure their business plans fit the needs of Cambridge visitors, workers and residents.
“We will also continue to work to find ways of increasing cycle parking to cater for existing demand and potential additional demand generated from public bike schemes.
"We will monitor Mobike closely as a new operator, as we did with Ofo, to ensure that their operation is properly managed and does not cause problems for local residents, businesses or others.”
Mobikes look different to Ofo’s bikes but operate in a similar fashion through an app and they will be subject to the same requirements as Ofo in terms of equipment, including lights, as well as other operating practices. Both companies have told the council they are developing new pricing options to benefit customers.