Dock-free bike-sharing service Mobike has said that it is moving to the next phase of its development programme, following the launch of its pilot scheme in Manchester in June.
Mobike is a cycle hire scheme intended for short urban journeys. Bikes are not docked at stations, but located by use of an app and operated by a smart locking system.
Mobike said that it has re-defined the area in central Manchester where its bikes will operate as it looks to ensure that more bikes are located in the city centre, improving accessibility and availability. Along with vandalism, another issue that arose in the early weeks of the Mobike pilot was users taking the bikes home to relatively outlying areas.
The bikes were briefly removed from use in a move that, being unannounced, raised some alarm. A spokesman told Place North West that this was “to allow the geo-fence to be reset” but that the bikes are being reintroduced starting from today, returning to the full complement later this week.
The operator has now drawn a red zone, or ‘geo-fence’ in the Mobike app, asking that bikes are parked and locked inside this area at the end of rides, although users are free to use them outside the zone. In future, users who deliberately park bikes outside the zone may be penalised.
More people are being added to the Mobike team as it rolls the concept out to other cities – Newcastle and Oxford have now followed Manchester and London as Mobike locations. The operator said that the app is being modified, with one of the key aims being to make users aware of good parking locations – its “Mobike Preferred Locations” will be added to the in-app map to better help customers find bikes and ideal drop off points.
Steve Pyer, general manager of Mobike UK said: “Manchester has been a hugely valuable learning experience for us as we launch in the UK. The changes that we are making are designed to improve the customer experience.”