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Mobike Withdraws From Manchester

A mere two weeks after it was first mooted, the sad news has emerged that Mobikes are being withdrawn from Manchester with immediate effect. The company state that vandalism and theft of the bikes are behind the decision.

Mobike stated that since the start of the scheme 10% of the bike fleet was lost or damaged every month. An unwanted title, Manchester is apparently the first and only city out of around 200 where this step has been taken by Mobike for this reason.

It seems unlikely in my opinion that the people of Manchester, above all other cities where the scheme remains in place, are so much more badly behaved. I wonder whether this is in fact the true rationale behind this choice? No information appears to have been released by Mobike about usage over time or indeed whether the scheme turned a profit.

Although it is of course improving almost weekly, the Manchester infrastructure does not yet make it what many might term 'cycle-friendly.' Could it simply then be a case of timing? Perhaps if Mobikes returned to the streets of Mancunia post-Beelines, the outcome may have been very different indeed. We will never know.

As we have said before there are definitely criticisms to be levelled at the scheme: the lack of hubs a la Boris bikes/Sadiq cycles, better tracking technology, more robust locks and so on.  Prehaps Mobike could have further restricted the area the bikes could be used, would that have made a difference?

Perhaps some other company will see an opportunity for a similar scheme at some point in the future. For now though it is a sad day for Manchester's Mobikers.

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