Dockless ofo bikes are backing out of Charlotte over the next week. If you recall, the ofo bikes are the yellow ones that cost $1 an hour, have a relatively small basket capacity, but nonetheless can fit a six-pack of ginger beer.
In a statement released by ofo on Friday (and shared by WBTV), the company is continuing to expand around the world, but “has begun to reevaluate markets that present obstacles to new, green transit solutions, and prioritize growth in viable markets that support alternative transportation.”
Um, could that a bit of a jab at Charlotte’s potential for “green transit solutions?”
As hard as the city has worked, in certain ways, to offer better options for cyclists, from enhancing the Charlotte Rail Trail (it has so many amenities!) to proposing plans for the Independence Boulevard Corridor, riding a bike in a congested city to work, eat or get home just doesn’t feel comfortable to everyone. I tried it for months, merely coasting from Dilworth to Uptown, and crazy/busy roads like Morehead and South Boulevard are unavoidable. I never felt safe. (Heck, I don’t even feel safe crossing these streets on foot half the time.)
Even the Booty Loop, a perceived haven for serious and recreational cyclists alike, has its downfalls. So I’m not really surprised to see a bike share company pulling out of the city.
Also, every time I step outside in the Uptown area lately, I see electric scooters whizzing past. Since scooters were unloaded in May, they have, from the spectator angle, seemed to to dominate the bike-and-scooter-share scene. Perhaps ofo hasn’t been feeling so popular among our scootering millennials.
It’s not just Charlotte that China-based ofo is pulling out of, though. The company is also leaving Atlanta, Chicago and Washington, D.C., and countries like Germany, India, and Australia, Curbed Atlanta reported. There was also a rogue email from ofo declaring that the bikes were leaving San Diego — but that was incorrect information. Oops.
For now, Charlotteans can keep whizzing around by way of Limebike, Spin, Mobike and B-Cycle bike brands, not to mention those fierce-looking Bird scooters, and the Lime scooters that make magical noises when you activate them.