Dockless bike hire company ofo celebrates a successful launch in Sheffield – its biggest outside London so far in the UK – after data revealed a strong and growing uptake among the city’s residents.
For the first time in the UK a dockless bike scheme is sharing usage data, providing a never before seen insight into Sheffield’s cycling habits.
Over 28,000 trips in Sheffield since January’s launch
The city was ofo’s first in the north of the UK and follows successful launches in Cambridge, Oxford, London and Norwich. The scheme is already used by 200m users in 21 countries to make 32m trips every day. The company recently announced plans to launch in nearby Leeds.
Over 28,000 trips have been made in the steel city on ofo bikes so far, with figures showing almost a 20% rise from January to February. As a result, the company will be adding 300 new bikes in Sheffield at the end of this month.
Some 13,232 trips were made in January, growing to over 15,000 in February, proving that the scheme rose in popularity even from the initial period of excitement immediately after launch.
Over 6,000 unique users have used the service
There have been 6,220 unique users in Sheffield up to the 11th of February, with more signing up every day. Unusually, the majority of the trips have taken place between 3pm and 5pm each day, proving that ofo users are not limited to commuters. Around 550 trips are made each morning between 7am and 9am, rising to a peak of around 1,100 between 3pm and 5pm.
Unsurprisingly, the locations where journeys begin have been focused within the city centre, with Kelham Island Museum, Sheffield Train Station and the university campuses the most popular of all. With the average trip lasting around 14 minutes and users travelling just over 1.4km, the top destinations are also within the city centre. However, the suburbs of Broomhill, Nether Edge and Walkley remain popular end points, hinting at a large usage from Sheffield’s student population.
Joseph Seal-Driver, ofo’s general manager for the UK & Ireland, said: “The initial uptake in Sheffield has been nothing short of fantastic. We are pleased to see usage numbers grow each month, and as the days get longer and the weather improves, we expect to see more and more Sheffield residents adopting ofo bikes as their go-to mode of transport”
The ofo team has been working hard to make sure the benefits of cycling are promoted to local residents, and the aspects of sharing encouraged, so the success doesn’t stop with usage numbers.
Councillor Jack Scott, Cabinet Member for Transport and Sustainability at Sheffield City Council, said: “I am delighted with the impact that ofo is having on the way our residents make their short journeys across Sheffield. We have approved a new wave of bikes to be introduced to the city and will continue to work with ofo to ensure the bike scheme goes from strength to strength and continues to be a vibrant addition to the city’s sustainable transport offer.”
ofo is committed to getting people cycling and alongside the fleet of bikes, it has been providing Bikeability training in the city to encourage new and lapsed riders to try the scheme and ride more often.
ofo is the first station-free platform operating in the UK to be awarded accreditation by Bikeplus, the UK representative body for bike sharing. A Living Wage employer, ofo also engages with the cycling community, and works with local bike shops to maintain its bikes. At least 15 local residents will be employed by ofo on launch in the city.
ofo is committed to upholding high standards of service at all times and has a ‘UK Charter’ that details safety specifications, community principles, responsible business practices and general service guidance.
How it works
ofo’s eye-catching yellow bikes are hired through a smartphone app for just 50p for 30 minutes and can be picked up and dropped off anywhere that bike parking is allowed. ofo does not require riders to pay a deposit before use. To access a bike, riders can simply download the ofo app and unlock their nearest bike via Bluetooth connection. Once their ride is complete, users simply close the lock to complete their ride and make it available for the next person to use.
ofo also employs geofencing technology to ensure that riders use the bikes within the designated ‘Home Zone’ which is clearly visible in the app.
Sheffield figures at a glance
- Total trips for January, since the 9th: 13,232
- Total trips for February, from the 1st to 11th of February: 15,041
- Total trips until the 11th of February: 28,354
- Total unique users until the 11th of February: 6,220 (users that had at least one ride)
- Average length trip = 1.4 km
- Average trip duration = 14 minutes