Mobike expands parking zone – and Salford is back on the map
Mobike has moved back into Salford after ‘rebooting’ its bike hire scheme and expanding the area where users can park them.
Last month, bosses at Mobike , which launched in June, took all its distinctive silver and orange bikes off the streets – sparking fears they were shipping out for good.
However, as the Chinese firm later explained, they were actually ‘redefining’ the area where they operate.
This is because the 1,000 bikes were being left in ‘the four corners’ of Greater Manchester and becoming a challenge to retrieve.
The bikes have been fixed up and returned to the streets – but with new rules for users.
The bicycles previously had to be parked in a specified 6km squared area, including just a tiny slither of Salford .
That’s now been expanded to 20km squared, and includes a larger section of Salford. Although much of the city is still out of bounds for parking.
The app will be updated on Tuesday, December 5, Mobike said.
The new stage will also boost the number of bikes available – although Mobike have yet to confirm that number.
Steve Pyer, Mobike’s UK general manager, said operating in a more ‘concentrated area’ would improve bike availability.
He added: “The redefined geo-fence has backed this up and we are now able to go through to the next phase of the expansion.
“From this week, the geo-fence will expand covering 20km squared of Manchester and the number of bikes will increase to improve availability.”
Mobikers are free to ride outside of this agreed area but the cycles must be returned, parked and locked up back inside the designated zone.
Bikes are electronically monitored to ensure they are in the ‘geo-fenced’ grid – and users are threatened with penalty points if they park outside it.
Mr Pyer added: “We thank Mancunians for their patience as we find the best way to serve the city.
“We are privileged to offer a greener, smarter form of transportation to Mancunians. Thanks to the support and feedback from our users we are able to identify new and more efficient ways to make Mobike as accessible and enjoyable as possible”.
The app-based and dockless scheme’s first six months in Manchester has not all be plain sailing.
Initial teething problems were caused by confusion over their use – with some people reporting the bikes stolen when they were just being left for the next user.
There have also been issues with vandalism, with many bikes found thrown into canals.
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