Story by Kevin Stapleton | Photo by Nico Hall
ofo’s yellow bikes quickly became a common sight around Burngreave following their arrival in January, providing a cheap means of getting around the city. Unfortunately, all too often they were sighted in hedges and gennels, having been vandalised and dumped. Sometimes they had mysteriously turned orange, or another colour, and the GPS trackers used to track them had been forcibly removed.
So, it should be no surprise they are now disappearing entirely, with no replacement service in sight. 1000 bikes were initially brought here, although by late June, the team reported there were only 500. Did the other 500 just disappear?
Rates of vandalism were reportedly much higher in Sheffield than elsewhere, and the company even introduced a ‘rapid response’ team to combat the problem. All to no avail.
Joseph Seal-Driver, General Manager of ofo UK, said the reason for withdrawal was not because of vandalism, but so that the company could ‘focus on other key markets.’
Others are more critical. Green councillor and long-standing Messenger volunteer, Douglas Johnson said:
“The council needs to know why this company has failed, so it can look for a replacement scheme. This could be a community-based non-for-profit enterprise, creating more jobs in bike repair and support staff.
“One thing is certain, serious steps are needed now to get people onto safer and cleaner means of travel.”
A petition has been started to save the bikes, and can be signed at