Chinese cities have experienced a rapid roll out of dockless free-floating bike share as reported in The Guardian, with multiple competing operators each offering up to 70,000 bikes in a city. The operators have their eyes set on the European bike sharing market. Ofo and MoBike two start-ups have raised nearly $100 million dollars each at $500 million dollar valuations.
Ofo is planning 400 bikes for Cambridge in partnership with Cambridgeshire County Council, Cambridge University and Greater Cambridge Greater Peterborough Enterprise Partnership. The "Ofo" system, which is the first of its kind in the UK, allows users to hail bikes in the same way as a taxi. You simply look for one nearby (through an app simply hire a bicycle anytime and anywhere on demand), and drop it off at your destination, where other users can pick it up. Ofo is due to be rolled out in Cambridge in March and a single journey will cost less than £1. It is believed that these bikes are way better than London’s Boris bikes because of the freedom it brings.
A dockless system allows users to start and end trips with an integrated locking system without the need for the bike to be securely attached to a dock or cycle parking stand, although journeys are started and ended typically at cycle parking and can be managed with geo-fencing. Free-floating systems enable bikes to be dropped off at any location within a city or town’s boundaries. Full article can be found here