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Urbo exits London’s bike share market


22 June 2018

Dockless bike hire firm Urbo is quitting London just months after starting operations. 

A statement on the Irish company’s website says: “We regret to inform you that, from 4 July, Urbo will no longer be providing shared bike services in the London boroughs of Enfield, Waltham Forest and Redbridge due to these locations no longer being suited to our business model. Our service will continue to run in all other locations.”

The announcement came just days after the London Borough of Barnet chose Urbo to provide a scheme in the borough (LTT 08 Jun). Barnet had compared six possible operators and concluded that Urbo was the best because of its user-friendly bikes; its good track record with other London boroughs; a quick to download app; and low-cost bike lock technology that could be used with existing stands. 

The council plans to launch a scheme with an alternative supplier. 

Urbo’s first London scheme was in the London Borough of Waltham Forest. The borough announced last week that it was dropping the company in favour of rival firm Ofo. 

Clyde Loakes, Waltham Forest’s deputy leader and cabinet member for the environment, said: “Our initial venture into dockless bike hire has shown that they are incredibly popular with our residents, staff and visitors. However, following the recent takeover of Urbo we have seen that the company has been unable to keep up with the demands of our residents, so we have taken the decision to welcome Ofo into the borough as soon as possible.”

Ofo told LTT that it plans to launch in Waltham Forest, Camden, Hammersmith & Fulham and Wandsworth by the end of this month, taking its total number of London operations to ten boroughs: Hackney, Islington, Redbridge, the City of London, Richmond upon Thames, Waltham Forest, Wandsworth, Hammersmith & Fulham, Camden and Southwark. 

The owners of Irish bike share firm Bikeshare.ie recently took a majority shareholding in Urbo and all future schemes will be under Urbo branding (LTT 11 May). Last month Urbo announced that it would be launching a scheme in Dublin. Bikeshare.ie operates schemes in Galway, Limerick and Cork.

Urbo still has one UK scheme, having launched in Ipswich at the end of March.  

LTT asked Urbo why it had chosen to withdraw from the London market but had  not received a reply by close for press.

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