On Friday, Chinese bike-sharing company Ofo Inc announced its official launch in four European countries — the Czech Republic, Italy, Russia and the Netherlands — as the company ramps up efforts to expand its booming cycle empire globally.
It marks the company’s latest move to meet its former ambitious goal to enter 200 cities in 20 countries by the end of this year, as competition with its arch-rival Mobike Technology Co Ltd gets fiercer in the global market.
“Our platform was created with the ambition of improving the environment globally by introducing our low-carbon transportation to urban dwellers,” said Dai Wei, founder, and CEO of Ofo. “Ofo is committed to bringing our green service to every city in need of convenient short-distance travel solutions.”
Ofo said it deployed an initial batch of 300 yellow shared bikes in Prague 7. Residents will be charged 10 CZK per half hour to ride the bikes.
How the ofo bikes work
ofo’s bikes can be used hired through a smartphone app and can be picked up and dropped off anywhere that bike parking is allowed. Riders don’t need to pay a deposit before use. To access a bike, riders must download the ofo app and unlock their nearest bike via Bluetooth connection. Once their ride is complete, users close the lock to complete their ride and make it available for the next person to use.
Petra Kolinska, deputy mayor of Prague, said this would be a great opportunity.
“I support all measures that make the city more environmentally-friendly. I believe Prague will have good cooperation with the service provider, bringing the citizens of Prague many benefits.”