(Photo courtesy of Edelman Corporate and Public Affairs)
On Tuesday, Oct. 10, ofo joined the mix of companies that don’t require a station, marking the fifth company to enter under the District’s pilot program. The company will place 400 bright yellow bicycles around D.C. That adds another color to Limebike’s green bikes, and Capital Bikeshare’s original red.
Like other dockless bikeshare programs, these bikes can be located an app and parked anywhere in the city when you are finished with your ride. The bikes use bluetooth technology to pair with phones, and can be rented for as long as users like at the rate of $1 per hour. They also include reflectors in the rear to make cyclists more visible to motorists, and LED lights in the front of the bikes.
As an opening promotion, users are invited to try unlimited 2-hour free rides through the first two weeks (Oct. 11-22).
Ofo began on Peking University campus, and continues to provide its bicycles to campuses. In addition, it also operates in 180 cities across 15 countries, including Singapore and Kazakhstan. Washington, D.C., is only the fourth US city where it expanded, following Seattle, Revere, Mass., and Worcester, Mass.
Grace Lin, the Vice President of ofo U.S., explained that the international bike share program chose to expand to Washington D.C. as its next US city partly in order to solve the last mile problem: “One thing that we noticed in D.C. is that many residents don’t own cars and there are a lot of gaps in D.C.’s public transportation. Often people can get close to their final destinations but still need a bus, car-ride, or long walk to get from point A to B. ofo’s mission is to solve that ‘last mile’ of transportation problem for exactly this issue.”