The dockless bike-sharing platform and mobile app, ofo, is launching in Phuket thanks to a collaboration with Phuket City Development to enhance its Smart City project.
The ofo service in Phuket will involve 1,000 innovative “smart-lock” bicycles and will be available to Phuket residents for a one-month free trial without deposit from October 1.
Noppol Toochinda, ofo Thailand's general manager, said Phuket would be the pilot province for the service.
“With the support of the Phuket Smart City project, we are very pleased to be a part in fulfilling and enhancing the cycling experience in Phuket,” Noppol said.
Noppol said ofo is designed for point-to-point travel over journeys of 1 to 5-kilometres, and would reduce travel costs and parking problems in heavy traffic areas.
The bike-sharing app allows users to find a bike on a map and unlock it by scanning a QR Code.
Designated parking locations will also be displayed on the app. After the free trial, ofo’s regular service fee will be charged at Bt5 per 30 minutes use, with a deposit of 99 Baht, which can be paid via the app.
Currently ofo operates in over 170 cities across nine countries, with more than 10 million bicycles available, generating more than 25 million daily transactions.
Thailand is considered one of the strategic areas for expansion in Southeast Asia due to its population of over 70 million, including more than 700,000 students, and the fact that more than 7 million Chinese tourists travel here each year.
Recently, ofo began a pilot service with 1,000 bikes at Thammasat University’s Rangsit campus, gaining a positive response from staff and students.
Noppol said Phuket would be one of the first cities in the world to feature the smart-lock bikes.
Bikes would be available at key locations in the city, including Prince of Songkla University’s Phuket campus, Phuket Merlin Hotel, Pearl Phuket Hotel, The Tint At Phuket Town Hotel, Limelight Avenue Phuket, Sengho Bookstore, Robinson Phuket, Bang Neaw Shrine, Phuket Rajaphat University, Saphan Hin Park and Phuket Old Town.
Noppol noted that September 24 would be Phuket Car Free Day, putting a focus on the worldwide trend towards minimising car journeys.
“We would like to invite Phuket residents and tourists to be part of this activity by stop using cars and try the ofo bicycle service.
“Apart from helping our planet, it is also the first time Phuket residents will experience the new journey with ofo bikes which has created a new cycling phenomenon around the world,” said Noppol.
As for expansion, Noppol said ofo has set a clear course of action focusing on collaborations with government agencies to provide sustainable transport facilitates in urban and country areas.