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Bike sharing Unicorn Ofo pulls out of Chicago due to "restrictive regulations"


image credit : Ofo

Chinese bike sharing firm Ofo has pulled out its operations in the city of Chicago over an updated regulation requiring bike sharing companies to make use of lock-to bikes which have the ability of being locked to a fixed object after its use as opposed to the wheel-lock system currently adapted by Ofo which locks the bikes through the wheel while it can be parked anywhere.

Ofo and Lime, both major bike sharing operators are affected by this new regulation as its bikes lack the now required lock system for operating in the city and Ofo has officially pulled out of its operations in the city although its current 50 wheel-lock enabled bikes will be allowed to operate in the city with any further addition requiring the proposed lock system.

Just two months ago, The city of Chicago expanded its dockless bike sharing program with four major operators consisting of Ofo, Lime, Uber owned bike sharing service Jump along with Pace bikes which began operating in the city.





Jump and Pace bikes currently operate on the lock-to system and will have no problems concerning this new regulation with both companies planning to add more bikes to its fleet, Pace plans to increase its current number of 250 bikes in the city through an addition of 100 more while Jump bikes plans to to have a total of 250 bikes for its Chicago bike-sharing service.

"It's been a pleasure serving the Far South Side over the past two months, but unfortunately the city's restrictive regulations have made it impossible for us to continue providing our more accessible and convenient transit option," Ofo said in a statement concerning this issue.

The city of Chicago states of making this regulation in order to avoid the issues occurring across other cities where residents made complaints over the cluttering of bikes across streets which became an obstacle to easy movement.

Both Ofo and Lime have pushed back against the lock-to policy arguing that it creates unnecessary inconvenience for customers.

Lime even launched an online petition for the city to change its mind concerning the policy but as of now, The city has taken a stand on the policy which will see Lime either having to adjust its lock systems or just remain in the pilot program restricted to its current 50 bikes using the wheel-lock systems as deployment of new bikes must be aligned to the new policy.




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