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Mobike pulls out of Manchester

06/09/18

Mark Say Managing Editor

App based bike sharing service Mobike has pulled out of Manchester after continuing reports of its bikes being vandalised and stolen.

Mobike leaning against wall

It announced the move acknowledging the problem, but saying it will conduct a review of its time in the city and plans to submit a proposal for an alternative model.

The service was introduced in July of last year with the support of Transport for Greater Manchester. It was the Chinese company’s first initiative in Europe and provided the prospect of a new technology based mode of public transport for the city.

Each of the bikes is equipped with a GPS-embedded smart lock that reacts to the app through a scan of the QR code. This makes it possible for the user to lock and unlock the bike before and after a journey.

Users paid for the service by registering with a credit card, debit card or Paypal account, creating a wallet that they can top up as needed.

Persistent problem

Almost immediately after its launch there were press reports of Mobikes being stolen or trashed, and as the problem persisted speculation built up that the company was ready to pull out.

Mobike said that since the launch the bikes have been used for around 250,000 trips covering over 180,000 miles in the city.

Its general manager for the UK, Jan Van deer Ven, said: “We are very grateful to the city of Manchester to have been the first city in Europe to welcome Mobike. However, after careful evaluation we have decided to remove our bikes and refund our users.

“As a private company, we have a duty to ensure our revenues cover our costs since unlike some operators we do not use taxpayer money to balance our books. Unfortunately the circumstances in Manchester have not made this possible.”

The company has also launched the service in London, Newcastle, Oxford and Cambridge where it will continue to run.

Image by Gilly Berlin, CC BY 2.0 through flickr

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