ofo planning to remove bikes in coming months from College Station
ofo is back in business in College Station, at least for now.
Thursday night, KBTX learned their permit had been pulled, but Friday morning it got reinstated. ofo’s permit was revoked October 12 due to multiple violations of College Station’s ordinance governing dockless bike-share programs.
Among the violations was a lapse in automobile liability insurance coverage, which prevented ofo’s paid drivers from legally operating vehicles used to gather and relocate the yellow bikes.
Now, Texas A&M will be transitioning to a new bike share vendor in the coming months. Lindsey Jones and her friend Isaiah Brown have enjoyed the bike share service from ofo, while it's lasted.
"I wish that we could keep them here. Hopefully, A&M can find a way to like keep them on campus and other bikes," said Jones.
"I think that stinks that's unfortunate just because like I know I use them a lot and I know other people use them a lot," said Brown.
“I’ve never had any issues and I like them a lot I think they're convenient," added Jones.
Problems have plagued the bike share company with the yellow bikes being left in improper places and slow responses from the company after much of the ofo staff was cut.
"They recently ramped up heir employees to 14 here, but prior to that there were three employees managing 2,300 bikes. It just wasn’t enough," explained Aubrey Nettles, College Station Special Projects Coordinator.
Friday morning, their permit was reinstated after they paid a $5,785 citation for operating without a permit in recent weeks. They also had to add $5,000 back into an escrow account that gets deducted when the city charges a relocation fee.
"We have discussed a transition plan with both A&M and ofo. As we understand that A&M will be moving forward with a new vendor for next semester. ofo has explained that they will be picking up all bikes, donating some, selling some parts and recycling the rest," said Nettles.
She says residents should still use See Click Fix or call code enforcement if they encounter problems.
"If they don't take care of it we will and the vendor will be charged accordingly," said Nettles.
“One thing that the city has learned and will absolutely require with a new vendor is that the vendor operating in the city will need to have a phone number that is on the bikes that citizens can call," she added.
Texas A&M Transportation Services say they plan to keep bike sharing on campus. ofo users hope a new company will have better luck.
"I think another bike service like ofo would be so fun to have around I wouldn't want it to go away," said Jones.
A&M hopes to have a new vendor in place after this fall.
The City of College Station released this statement:
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UPDATE: ofo's permit to operate in College Station is reinstated