After conquering China and taking root in Europe, Mobike is ready to face its next challenge: moving its operations over the sea and leaving its mark in America. The Beijing-based company has recently deployed 180 dockless bikes in Washingon DC as part of a pilot program this week, and will continue expanding further. If things go well in the capital, they may start operations all over the US.
And things sure look promising in DC, which is one of the most bike-friendly cities in the country. According to the Washington Post, 5% of DC citizens pedal to work every day, and even though the city has its own bike-sharing system, Mobike might well be a serious competitor. This is because the Capital Bikeshare program uses docks, which makes it somewhat difficult to park and find bikes, while the dockless system of Mobike allows users to find the closest bikes to them through the app, and after they’re done with the ride to lock them and leave them anywhere.
To make the whole thing even more seamless, Mobike will operate in areas of DC where the Capital Bikeshare program currently doesn’t. They are also going to be of great service during rush hour, when DC’s bike-sharing system typically gets slammed.
Mobike in DC is slightly more expensive than in China though: a half-hour ride will cost $1. Still, this is only half of the Capital Bikeshare’s price.
Coincidentally, another dockless bike-sharing app called Spin also started operations in DC on the very same week as Mobike did.
Even though the cycling enthusiasts of DC are likely to be overjoyed about the overabundance of shareable bikes on the streets, some of the early reactions are mixed. One DC resident shared his frustrations on social media about the bikes taking up too much space:
Dude, chill. It’s good for the environment.
Meanwhile, Mobike’s main competitor, Ofo, has already launched its signature yellow bicycles in Seattle and Worcester, Massachusetts. This week the company also rolled out 1,000 bikes on the Thai resort island of Phuket.
By Máté Mohos
[Images via Mobike]
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