Leeds City Council has approved Ofo’s request to launch in the city.
Councillors assessed Ofo’s plans today following discussions with several other dockless bike share companies, and bikes will land soon, initially in the city centre only.
Leeds is said to be the largest city in Western Europe with no mass transport system.
The scheme will be Ofo’s second in Yorkshire after it expanded into Sheffield in January, and follows launches in Cambridge, Oxford, Norwich and London.
Leeds residents will be able to hire a three-speed bike via the Ofo smartphone app, ride it anywhere in the city and lock it again for 50p per 30 minute journey. (The bikes will be free to hire for the first two weeks of the scheme’s launch – Ofo requires no deposit.)
The dockless bikes are fitted with dynamo front lights, solar-powered rear lights and a front basket.
Ofo’s UK general manager Joseph Seal-Driver said:
“Our recent launch in Sheffield has been a huge success and we’re excited to see our bikes on the streets of Leeds as soon as possible. We will be working closely with the local authority to prepare for the launch, ensuring that the scheme rolls out smoothly, meets the needs of residents and is accessible to all parts of the community.”
Leeds City Council’s executive member for regeneration transport and planning councillor Richard Lewis, said:
“We have been in discussions about a bike hire scheme for some years. Early suggestions all required some form of public subsidy, whilst not providing the quality of bikes needed. Therefore it is very positive news that we have been able to resolve these issues with this new scheme; providing high quality bikes at no cost to the city."
In what won’t be welcome to the city’s bike shops, he added: "This scheme gives people the opportunity to cycle in Leeds without having to splash out on a bike.”
A Living Wage employer (the company employs marshals to manage its fleets), Ofo also engages with the cycling community, and works with local bike shops to maintain its bikes.
Ofo said it will also be providing Bikeability training to encourage new and lapsed riders to try the scheme and ride more often.