Less than a year after launching in Australia, Beijing-based dockless bike-share company Ofo has announced it will quit operating in Australia.
“Due to regulatory factors, we are currently restructuring our business model. As part of this restructuring process, all existing memberships will likely be transferred to any new business,” the Reddy Go text message to members said.
Ofo, dubbed “Uber for bikes”, told Adelaide’s the Advertiser it will wind down its Sydney and Adelaide operations over the next 60 days, saying the decision is “strategic”. It said it will now concentrate on “priority markets” internationally.
Dockless bike companies have been at the centre of controversy across Australia since launching last year; councils in both Melbourne and Sydney have been forced to implement rules to address problems of improperly placed bicycles.
Singapore-based Obike pulled its bikes off Melbourne streets last month. The action was most likely the result of strict new regulations recently imposed by the Environmental Protection Agency.
Under the new rules, the company would be fined $3000 for dumped or damaged bikes not removed within a set time frame. This included a two-hour window to remove any bike creating a hazard, and 48 hours to remove bikes stuck in trees.
While there is no specific information (other than “regulatory factors”) on why Ofo and Reddy Go have made the decision to close, and how members of Ofo can be reimbursed money owed to them from the company. The company said, as reported in the Advertiser, it “will act responsibly in each market as it winds down operations, resolving any outstanding concerns before finalising operations.”
Reddy Go told its members if they didn’t want their membership to be transferred to a new business, it is “happy to offer you and a friend a free bike each (total two bikes) as a sign of our gratitude for your loyalty and support.”
The Reddy Go offer of two free bikes for members is available until July 20 from its Alexandria storage centre. Broadsheet reached out to Reddy Go for more information and has not been able to confirm specific details.