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Mobike launches dockeless bikes in Manchester

04 July 2017

Machester is the first large metropolitan area in Europe to launch dockless bikes after small scale free floating bike schemes have been recently trialled in Cambridge, Oxford and Bristol.

Dockless bikes, or free-floating bike sharing, is an innovative bike sharing model. As the name suggests, bikes are left “free” in public space, users do not have to return them to a fixed docking station after use. In comparison to traditional bike sharing, dockless bikes do not require any docking stations and kiosk machines, saving on start-up cost.

To use a bike, users download an app on their smartphone that tells them where to find a cycle. A GPS tracker locates the bike which users unlock by scanning a QR code on their mobile phones or using a combination they are sent. Bicycles are tracked in real-time with built-in GPS. Technology helps to prevent bike theft and offers significant opportunities for smart management (locating and unlocking bikes).

Dockelss bikes schemes have spread quickly in Asia, and particularly in China fueled by multi-million loans or private investment. They are now hitting Europe, and the U.K. first.

Mobike was officially launched in Manchester on June 29th, with the cooperation of Transport for Great Manchester. Users pay a refundable deposit of £49 to use the Mobike scheme, with usage of the bikes charged at 50p per half an hour.