Wellington City’s first bike share scheme launches today with a six-month trial that places 200 fixed-gear bicycles available for hire around the central city.
From left, Wellington Mayor Justin Lester, Harry Yang and Min-kyu Jung from OnzO with some of the bikes for hire.
The Council has provided Auckland-based company OnzO with a licence to operate their dockless bike hire system in Wellington until the end of March 2019.
Bikes are hired by downloading the OnzO app, creating an account, then logging in to find the nearest available bike. All bikes come with a helmet and lights, bell and basket, and are unlocked using a QR code on your smartphone. The app requires funds to be deposited to an OnzO account using a credit card, with a hire cost of 25 cents for every 15 minutes.
The fixed gear system makes the light bikes ideal for short city trips on flat areas, and the airless tyres should allay concerns about punctures.
Wellington Mayor Justin Lester welcomes the bike share trial as a good opportunity to test the demand for this type of bike hire and how it fits in the context of Wellington.
“The central city is an ideal candidate for another cheap and easy transport option for short trips. We’re keen to see if it encourages more people to cycle – whether they just want to get across town or use it as part of their commute.”
“We want to start with a trial because there are issues with bike shares in other precincts around the world. We want to make sure they are ironed out before we proceed further.”
After a three-month trial in Auckland from last November, OnzO received a one-year mobile trading license in July from Auckland Council for the bike share system. The company posted 100,000 rides that month, and have responded to customer feedback by promising better bikes and e-bikes in the future.
Teething problems in Auckland included bikes being stolen, stashed in apartment buildings or dumped on the roadside. OnzO cited helmets not being left on the bikes properly as their biggest concern.
During the Wellington trial, with data provided by OnzO, the Wellington City Council will be looking at how well the bike share scheme is working, including number and duration of trips, where people go, and where bikes are parked (they don’t require special bike parking stations).
People hiring the bikes are encouraged to park them beside – but not amongst – bike stand. Bike trips are easily finished when the user pulls down the lock on the back wheel.
There are some parking restrictions on the Golden Mile, Cuba Mall, the waterfront and in central city parks.
Bikes will be regularly maintained and redistributed around the city by OnzO to make sure lots of bikes are not left in a few locations.
Councillor Sarah Free, Portfolio Leader for Walking and Cycling, says the OnzO bike share is another way in which the city is seeking to offer more transport choices for people.
“Dockless bikes can give people the flexibility to hire a bike when and where they need to. You could pick up a bike at the railway station and cycle to Wellington Hospital for example, or make a quick trip along the waterfront from one end of the CBD to the other. The trial will let us discover how people might want to use this service and how popular it is.”
The Wellington launch is an exciting next step for OnzO, according to Chief Operating Officer Harry Yang. “This type of bike share is common in many other cities around the world and helps to make riding bikes more accessible.”
Find out more about OnzO on their website. Or phone them on 0800 646 696.