Chinese unicorn Ofo partners with Pune Municipal Corporation to support city cycle plan

In order to support the Pune Cycle Plan, Beijing-based bicycle sharing company Ofo today signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC).

The company which has recently launched its services in India, will develop integrated city-wide cycle tracks across Pune under public sharing bicycle schemes and development of cycle promotion activities.

Rajarshi Sahai, Director of Public Policy & Communications, Ofo said, “Our mission is to solve the ‘last mile’ transportation problem in India’s urban areas and we see immense potential in Pune for Ofo’s convenient, affordable and low carbon way of travel.”

Mobility has become a major civic issue in Pune recently as facilities for public commuting have not kept pace with the city’s growth.

According to the PMC’s Environment Status Report 2016-17, with 700 private vehicles being added to the roads every day, the city’s vehicle population is now equal to its human population. This rapid rise in vehicular traffic is leading to air pollution, health problems, accidents, and wastage of time in traffic congestion. Recognizing this, the PMC has come up with the Pune Cycle Plan as part of its Comprehensive Mobility Plan (CMP).

Speaking on the notable initiative Mr. Kunal Kumar, Commissioner of the Pune Municipal Corporation, said, “As more people switch to bikes from cars for short-distance travel, apart from getting exercise, they will also help reduce traffic congestion, fuel consumption and air pollution.”

The growth of bike sharing concept is the part of the rental economy, which is set to grow manifold in the coming years. According to PricewaterhouseCoopers, the sharing economy will generate potential revenue of $335 billion by 2025 globally.

Ofo aims to democratize access to rental bikes by leveraging technology, which enables them to be rented through a mobile app without needed to be stored in a central location. Furthermore, the app allows users to track where its bicycles are parked as well as unlock and lock the two-wheelers. Users pay $1 an hour for the bicycles.

Founded in 2014, Ofo currently operates in over 250 cities across 20 countries. The company claims to generate 32 million transactions daily and has provided over 200 million global users with 6 billion efficient, convenient and green rides, reduced over 3.24 million tons of PM2.5 emissions.

In July 2017, ofo has completed Series E funding of US$700 million, becoming the world’s biggest and most valued bike-sharing company. Prior to that, Ant Financial, Alibaba’s finance-focused affiliate, invested in Ofo in April 2017.

Notably, a few competition companies to Ofo is already there and some are about to launch as, in October 2016, Zoomcar had launched its bicycle-rental service PEDL, while Ola just launched Ola Pedals on a pilot basis. Meanwhile, InMobi co-founder Amit Gupta recently stepped down to launch its new venture which too is bicycle sharing startup Yulu.

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