Chinese company pulls plug on Camden bike share

Ofo is bringing its dockless bike share technology to Camden. (Photo credit: Ofo)

Ofo has pulled out of many other locations across North America that it does not deem profitable. (Photo credit: Ofo)

Camden’s bike share pilot program was short lived.

Two months after the initial launch, the Chinese-based bike-sharing company ofo has backpedaled.

Ofo has pulled out of many locations across North America that the company does not see as profitable.

“As we continue to bring bike share to communities across the globe, ofo has begun to re-evaluate markets that present obstacles to new, green transit solutions,” the company said in a statement issued Friday. It intends to “prioritize growth in viable markets that support alternative transportation and allow us to continue to serve our customers.”

Customers used ofo’s phone app to find and unlock the bright yellow bikes around the city. The rate was $1 an hour. At the end of their trip, riders pushed a lever to lock bikes and leave them behind for the next rider, but they did not have to leave them at a designated station. A map function on the app allowed a rider to locate bikes through GPS in the “dockless” bike share.

Cooper’s Ferry Partnership, a nonprofit that oversees redevelopment in the city, launched the program with the Voorhees Transportation Center at Rutgers as part of a feasibility study.

It was supposed to go on for six months before a decision on whether it would stay, according to Cooper’s Ferry CEO Kris Kolluri.

“Our expectation was that we would use the data that is collected to understand and recalibrate if necessary,” Kolluri said.

Kolluri learned of the rollback in an online news article Thursday.

“We are deeply disappointed about these developments, and we hope to work with our partners to understand what the impact of this is and make some objective decisions,” he said.

The next step, according to Kolluri, is to review the data that the city does have. He said he is open to other options for Camden to host another bike share program, but he doesn’t have specific plans.

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