Bike sharing launches in Prague 7

Chinese firm Ofo is testing its app-based service with 300 yellow bikes

A bike sharing service has launched test operation in the Prague 7 district. The Chinese-based company Ofo has 300 yellow bikes in the district and using them will be free this year until the end of the cycling season. Other city districts have shown interest in joining the program.

The system for bike sharing does not require a bike rack or other fixed docking place to leave the bike once someone is done with it. The bikes are locked and unlocked by an app on a mobile phone. The app sends a passcode to the user, and the code is used to open the lock on the bike. The free app is available in Czech for the iOS and Android platforms.

Once the ride is completed, the user can leave the bike in anywhere there is no danger to traffic or pedestrians. It is then locked and available to other people to use.

“I think this is a great opportunity for Prague. I support any steps that make the city more environmentally friendly. I believe that Prague will be able to create a form of cooperation with the service provider that will give Praguers the maximum benefits,” Prague Deputy Mayor Petra Kolínská (Greens) said at the launch of the service, according to press reports.

The firm Ofo has been operating since 2014 and now has 10 million bicycles with 200 million users in 180 cities in 13 countries. The company worldwide is valued at over $1 billion.

This is not the first bike sharing service in Prague. A project called Rekola has pink bikes that can be used for free for up to 15 minutes, and then require a rental fee. This system also uses a mobile phone app to unlock the bikes. The program started in 2013 and has expanded to other Czech cities.

The firm Homeport has bike sharing in the Prague 8–Karlín section, using green bikes. These have specific docking stations. Bikes can be rented for a full day but have to be returned to Karlín.

There are several traditional bike rental shops in Prague as well.

Czech Railways also has a bike rental program so people can ride bikes at their destinations but not have to transport them. Bikes can be taken from one station and returned to another.

Prague attempted to launch its own bike sharing system, but had the cancel the bidding process due to mistakes in the tender process.

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