OFO bicycle company in wheel trouble

ROCK AND A HARD PLACE: Reckless use of the bikes is evident in Marbella ©Marbella se queja/Facebook

BUMPS in the road to success are emerging for bicycle sharing company OFO, with Marbella the latest city to witness theft and damage to the bikes.

A deal had recently been reached between Marbella Council and OFO for the gradual introduction of 500 dockless bicycles in the area.

The system uses a smartphone app to unlock bicycles, charging an hourly rate for use.

However, the bikes have been damaged, discarded in fields, and allegedly even stolen to be re-painted and sold.

This is clearly not what the company or Public Transport Councillor Jose Eduardo Diaz envisioned when initially presenting the roll out, when he said that “sustainable mobility is a priority and we thank OFO for trusting Marbella to develop an innovative project that promotes the use of bicycles as a means of urban transport.”

OFO operates in more than 250 cities and the problem is not exclusive to Marbella. In an effort to address the problem, OFO introduced a credit score system last June that penalises anti-social behaviour (such as bicycle dumping and traffic violations).

Users will be barred from using the service once all their points have been deducted.

Conversely, positive behaviour (such as reporting lost or damaged bicycles) will be rewarded.

OFO’s local teams around the world are working with interest groups in each city to explore solutions.

Marbella became the third Spanish city in which OFO established itself after Madrid and Granada.

To use the bikes, users can download the mobile application from the OFO website, and it is available on both IOS and Android.

The smart padlock system can be opened automatically by scanning the code located in the padlock of each bike.

At the end of the ride users can park in any authorised bicycle area and close the padlock manually.

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