Dockless bike hire coming to Wandsworth

Published: Thursday 14th June 18

Dockless bike hire company ofo will be launching a service in Wandsworth later this month.

The scheme, which is expanding to cover ten London boroughs including Wandsworth, will mean people can register with an app to locate and hire a bike without having to access it via a fixed docking station.

The scheme will complement the existing Santander cycle hire scheme, which does not operate across the entire borough, and encourage more people to get out of their car and use clean, sustainable transport. It will support the objectives of the council’s Cycling Strategy and other council plans which aim for cycling to make up seven per cent of all trips by 2026.

It follows a decision by the council last year to stop the dockless bike hire firm O-bikes from operating in the borough following widespread complaints about bikes being randomly dumped.

The new scheme will be subject to strict safeguards. ‘Geofencing’ technology will ensure that riders use the bikes within the designated ‘Home Zone’ which is clearly visible in the app. ofo will have a team of marshals available seven days a week to answer any questions from users and ensure the service runs smoothly and that bikes are being parked responsibly. The council has agreed provisions with ofo for prompt removal of any bikes causing an obstruction. The public can also report concerns on 0808 1101 7141 or by emailing All bikes have the contact number printed on them.

Customers can hire a lightweight three-speed bike via the ofo smartphone app, ride it to their destination and lock it again for just 70p for a 30 minute journey. ofo has also introduced daily passes, offering unlimited rides for £2.90 and monthly passes, costing £9.90.

The scheme has been given permission to operate for a pilot period of 12 months. The scheme can be terminated early if it is not working, or extended if it is a success.

Joseph Seal-Driver, ofo’s UK General Manager, said: “We will be working very closely with the council to ensure ofo’s rollout goes as smoothly as possible and to provide the best experience for residents. We are looking forward to seeing our distinctive yellow bikes on the streets giving people a fun, cheap and environmentally friendly way to get around.”

The council’s transport spokesman Cllr Jonathan Cook said: “We feel there is a place in the borough for a dockless bike hire scheme, but it must be the right one. We’re confident that we’ve found the right partner in ofo.”

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Recent comments

The average time for these abandoned bikes to get cleared away is anything between three days and a week. Yet around Kelmscott Road they disappear overnight. I wonder if it has anything to do with Councillor Cook living there? Stop this scheme now and avoid the inevitable environmental disaster they have seen in the far east; just do an image search for 'dumped hire bikes'.
Frank Cotton

1 August 2018

On Sunday I had one of these parked outside of my house on the pavement obstructing a quarter of the pavement and causing me a near panic attack. Subsequently when venturing onto my high street in the afternoon one of these was blocking half the pavement. The previous week when dropping my son off at school I had one of these parked in a wonky fashion by a Council bin blocking most of the public footpath. Ofo phone referred me to Ofo email and nobody bothered answering that. I'm in contact with some members of the Council who are supportive but unclear if message is getting through. These bikes blocking pavements are discriminatory to those with disabilities, and TFL guidelines say pedestrian comes first. Not reflected in how scheme is run.
Nick Simpson

23 July 2018

Ofo do not answer complaints addressed to: They are 'disruptive' in that they are disrupting our beautiful parks and normally well-ordered pavements. Ten minutes on Google will tell you how badly received they have been worldwide, and Sydney has a huge active campaign to throw them out. Elsewhere they have fled because of negative publicity. Why oh why has the Council fallen for 'disruptive' greenwashing of something toxic masquerading as being in some good and empowering. The lessons from formula E were there to be learned. I just walked in Battersea Park and more of these Ofo bikes have been abandoned on their sides. The Council needs to end this trial now - stop listening to cynical paid lobbyists!!
Paul Maitland

17 July 2018

These ‘shared’ bikes owned by Chinese firms Ofo and Mobike are just being fly-tipped all over Wandsworth and particularly in the park I think it is utterly sociopathic that one can think it all right to have yellow bikes strewn about the park. It’s exactly EXACTLY the same mindset as Formula E: FE: electric energy is good so racing in parks must be good so concreting over a park in the middle of summer is OK Ofo: bikes are good so leaving them anywhere is good so leaving them upended all over parks and pavements is OK This trial should be stopped right now. I don't know why Councillor Cook and others were persuaded by the Chinese firm's heavy lobbying, but the yellow bikes are an utterly anti social menace. Disgusting.
Laurence Percival

17 July 2018

Having done some research, I find this is the same scheme that Cllr. Cook so hotly opposed a year or so ago. I don't know what has suddenly changed his mind - but from all the complaints I have heard, it is not working. Maybe he should think again before it gets out of hand. Here are Cllr. Cook's comments 11 months ago: We have received a flood of complaints about these bikes obstructing pavements, blocking parking spaces and even being chucked in people’s front gardens. ‘We are happy to support an initiative that gets more people using bikes, but without a drastic re-think, and proper consultation with all the capital’s highway authorities this particular scheme, as it stands, is not the answer.’
susan lofthouse

16 July 2018

SEE COMMENT BELOW FROM FEBUARY - STILL VERY VALID! 17 February 2018 This is a VERY bad idea. It has been operating in Sydney for a year or so and the experience is that people leave the bikes all over the place and create a nuisance on the streets where they are left. I have seen the bike debris myself over Christmas and I can confirm that the scheme just isn't workable. The bikes also get vandalised and just left useless on the street. Such a problem that there is now a campaign to halt the project and clean all the bikes pff the stress of Sydney. Total failure of a scheme. James Drayton

16 July 2018


16 July 2018

Why is Wandsworth allowing this in? Just something else to clog up the streets and fgotpaths.
susan lofthouse

16 July 2018

O-Bikes has recently closed its operations in Singapore & Melbourne. Ofo is notorious in Singapore(along with other operators) for causing obstructions in streetside, pavements & open spaces with their bikes being unceremoniously "dumped" anywhere. Singapore Government belatedly introducing licencing scheme to try and regulate. The dumped bikes are dangerous and an eye sore often blocking entrances/access to buildings, bus stops etc. Wandsworth Council please be on your alert and dont let this happen in Wandsworth
David Hesketh

30 June 2018

I think we could live without this scheme: abandoned bikes are a menace across much of London.
Ken Powell

17 June 2018

Why does Wandsworth need two park and ride schemes they get vandalised so people can ride them for free and become dangerous if you don't check them before you ride them good idea but two schemesbis there any need for both of them mobikes and ofo
Antony Arthur

16 June 2018

2 days ago a mobike was dumped in amongst plants on open space here. It was reported but took time for it to be removed. Today I saw 2 more which had, presumably been dumped. I have serious concerns about the growth of these bike hire schemes. 1) many of those using the bikes do not know the law (or blatantly ignore it) 2) it seems that the bikes are very easy to unlock, steal and then dump. As someone who is usually a pedestrian I would like to see policies which make walking more pleasant - not being harassed by cyclists on footpaths would be a start.

16 June 2018