Bike-sharing startup Mobike expands across London: Next stop Islington

Rebecca Smith
Bike-sharing schemes have taken off in the capital in recent months
Bike-sharing schemes have taken off in the capital in recent months (Source: Mobike)

Chinese bike-share firm Mobike pedalled into the capital in July, rocking up in Ealing.

And it has now decided to branch out further. Today, the bike share startup is bringing 200 bikes to Islington for the next stage of expansion in London.

Steve Pyer, UK general manager for Mobike, said: “Islington is an important milestone in growing our presence in London. Islington is a stylish, energetic, multi-generational borough – and already has a strong cycling culture."

Read more: Two more bike-sharing startups are bringing hundreds more cycles to London

"Working with forward-thinking local authorities, such as Islington is an essential part of the way we operate, as we believe strong relationships with public transport organisations, council representatives, mayoral teams and other city stakeholders is vital to the success of bike-sharing," he added.

The scheme's launch in Islington has been given the green light by the council, which announced earlier this month that it will introduce a diesel surcharge for short stay parking as it looks to improve air quality in the area.

Islington council said its borough suffered from some of the highest pollution levels in London, and was introducing the short stay parking surcharge across its thousands of parking bays, on top of the extra diesel payment in place for resident parking permits.

Today, councillor Claudia Webbe, said car ownership was already "among the lowest in London" in Islington.

"Mobike will particularly help residents in areas that do not have on-street cycle docks, meaning even more people can switch to take advantage of two wheels – a healthier, more environmentally friendly and cheaper way to travel," she added.

The rollout of bike-sharing schemes in London hasn't been without some roadblocks though. In July, Singapore startup oBike got into hot water with councils over the sudden number of yellow bikes left dotted around - obstructing footpaths and creating potential hazards.

But that hasn't dampened spirits. In fact, another firm Ofo launched in the capital in September, while Urbo arrived in north east London in October.

And Islington council says it has been extra careful to set out clear terms and conditions to ensure its tie-up with Mobike doesn't go off track.

Webbe said: "As with other cycle-sharing firms, we have a memorandum of understanding with Mobike setting out clear terms and conditions and we will work with them to ensure the scheme is properly managed, that bicycles are sensibly distributed to cater for demand, and any disruption or inconvenience to pedestrians is avoided."

Read more: A London council has swept oBike off its streets

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