Bike share scheme for Leeds: Yellow OFO bikes could soon be on city's streets

Adam Rose, Ofo operations manager for Sheffield, pictured with an Ofo bike.
Adam Rose, Ofo operations manager for Sheffield, pictured with an Ofo bike.

THE world's biggest public bike share company could  soon be operating in Leeds.

Leeds City Council has named OFO as its preferred operator to deliver a bike share scheme in Leeds

Senior councillors will be asked to approve proposals for OFO to set up a bike share scheme in the city when the council's executive board meets on Wednesday February 7.

The scheme could be introduced as early as this spring.

OFO launched a public bike-sharing scheme in Sheffield last month and manage similar initiatives in Cambridge, Oxford, London and Norwich.

The Leeds scheme will initially run for 12 months in the city centre and surrounding areas.

If successful, the aim is to expand the scheme further into the suburbs and towns as quickly as possible.

The initiative would see a free-flow or dockless bike sharing system introduced.

Using GPS and geo-fencing technology, it will allow users to download a free mobile phone app to locate and unlock a nearby bike for a competitive fee per half hour.

Council chiefs say the bikes, which are easily identifiable in a distinct bright yellow colour, will provide residents, commuters and visitors with a new sustainable option for their travel around the city for work and leisure.

Coun Richard Lewis, Leeds City Council’s executive member for regeneration, transport and planning, 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 I’m really pleased that we have been able to resolve these issues with this new scheme; providing high quality bikes at no cost to the city.

“I’ve ridden these bikes myself and I would encourage other non-cyclists to have a go too. This scheme gives people the opportunity to cycle in Leeds without having to splash out on a bike and is a convenient way to travel in our city centre, whether for work or leisure.”

Joseph Seal-Driver, OFO's UK General Manager, said: “The decision is subject to an ongoing process with Leeds Council but we’re delighted to be a front-runner.

"We launched our first scheme in Yorkshire in Sheffield at the start of the year and it’s proved a great success. We’re eager to emulate that in Leeds and give people the same access a convenient, fun and healthy travel option.”