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Ofo exits UK, and Ford closes Chariot

MOBILITY AS A SERVICE

18 January 2019
 

The closure of two new mobility services has been announced, with Chinese dockless bike hire firm Ofo quitting the UK and Ford closing its Chariot micro-bus business. 

Financially troubled Ofo is reported to have closed down its entire international operations as it tries to stave off bankruptcy. 

The company was founded in 2014 and introduced its yellow bikes to the UK in 2017, initially in Cambridge and then London, Oxford, Norwich and Sheffield.

The services offered by Ofo and rivals such as Mobike prompted questions about whether dockless bike hire would replace traditional dock-based systems. 

Ofo’s troubles became apparent last summer when it withdrew from Norwich and Sheffield and scrapped plans to launch in Leeds as part of a wider global retrenchment. In October it withdrew from parts of London.

The company is reportedly losing tens of millions of pounds a month and its founder recently told staff he had considered “dissolving the company and applying for bankruptcy” (LTT 04 Jan).

Chariot’s bus services launched in San Francisco five years ago and expanded to London last year. All operations will cease by the end of March. 

 
 
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