Ofo is offering its yellow dockless bikes free to all Durham ride sharers in January.
The company is offering the free month to all United States cities where it has established the service. Ofo has the service in more than 20 cities across the United States, and expects to expand in 2018, stated Taylor Bennett, spokesman for Ofo, in an email.
“Not only have we seen a great reception from riders, but city officials across the US are excited about bringing Ofo into their communities to help reduce traffic congestion, while opening up access to traditionally underserved parts of town,” Bennett stated.
Dockless bikes “are proving to be one more green, affordable choice that's good for users and good for cities,” Bennett stated.
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Ofo entered the bike-sharing market in Durham in December, joining Spin’s orange bikes and LimeBike’s green ones, which began operating in the city in November. Ofo normally charges $1 for an hour of use, while Spin and LimeBike charge $1 for 30 minutes of riding.
The three services work under the same principle. Users unlock the bike through an app on their phones and can leave it wherever they wish when they finish riding. The bikes use GPS technology, so users can find available bikes through maps on their respective apps. Customers can only unlock a bike through the app.
Dockless bike-share programs, which were first popularized in China, multiplied across the U.S. last year, as investors poured millions into several burgeoning startups. Ofo was one of the original Chinese companies to create dockless bike sharing.