oBike's sharing scheme is coming to London to take on the Boris Bike

From this week, a startup from Singapore is becoming the first 'dockless' bike sharing company to launch its cycles in London. In total 400 oBikes have been placed in Tower Hamlets.

Like other bike-sharing schemes, the system allows riders to find, rent, and pay for bikes through a smartphone app. Each 30-minute ride costs 50p plus a refundable deposit of £49, and the bike is unlocked by scanning a QR code printed on its frame

However, the bikes differ from Santander's ‘Boris Bike’ offering in that they do not need to be docked at a station. Across London's central travel zones there are 750 docking stations where the 11,500 Boris Bikes can be rented. Once used they must be returned to another station or the user will face fines. OBike's cycles can be left anywhere using the built-in lock that's attached to its frame.

However, things have not been completely smooth for those attempting to make the transition to new markets. Ofo's trial in Cambridge was intending to put 500 of its bikes into circulation at launch but following complaints from residents and councillors this was reduced to 20. Locally, the sharing model raised concerns that bikes will be abandoned and vandalised.

Further details can be found in this WIRED article:

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