City becomes third in the UK to take up smart bike scheme supported by GPS and mobile app
Newcastle City Council has said it is supporting a new roll out of the tech-supported bicycle hire scheme run by Chinese company Mobike.
It is planning to begin by making 1,000 of the bikes available for hire around the city centre, following launches in Manchester and London over the past months.
The council said that Mobike has worked with a number of local authorities on the scheme and has also won the support of Northumbria University.
Steve Pyer, UK general manager for Mobike, said: “We are once again launching in a city where there is a real commitment to get people on bikes. Newcastle’s commitment to creating a safe and inclusive cycling culture made the city a natural place for the next step of Mobike’s UK expansion.”
Each of the bikes is equipped with a GPS-embedded smart lock that reacts to the app, which can be downloaded from Google Play or Apple’s App Store, through a scan of the QR code. This is meant to direct the user to the nearest available bike and make it possible to lock and unlock it before and after a journey.
But soon after the Manchester launch of the scheme in June there were reports of thieves disabling the GPS trackers and smashing the wheel locks. Also, bikes showing up on the app were not where they were meant to be, and some were illegally taken onto private property.
The company responded by saying it had plans to deal with some of the problems.