One might argue that London has enough bikes already, especially those of a rental variety. But Mobike has nonetheless decided to join the fray and will offer hyper-localised bike rentals in Ealing, focusing on Acton. It may, of course, expand to the rest of the capital if demand is significant. The company has already launched in Manchester.
Like oBike, Mobike is dockless, so there's no need to find a prearranged place to leave the bike. Just drop it off somewhere safe, where bike parking is allowed, and you're good to go. Also like oBike, Mobike is app-based, so you reserve a bike and then it will be shown on a map with directions on how to find it.
Like all these schemes the charge you pay is based on the time you use the bike for. There's a refundable deposit upfront of £49 to encourage people to return the bike when they've finished. Each 30 minute period costs £0.50 and ends when you lock the bike back up. Mobike says you should get a receipt within two minutes of locking it up.
But there's a little bit more to Mobike's charging than that. Each new user gets 100 credits to start with, and this is sort of your "rating". If you have 80 or more credits, you pay that low-cost 50p per 30 minutes. If you have fewer than 80 credits then you pay £100 per 30 minutes. That basically means you're banned, because no one is going to do that.
You get one credit added for each ride and one for reporting a broken bike, incorrect parking, or inviting a friend to use Mobike - as long as they accept. You lose credits for parking on private property to the tune of 20 and abandoning the bike when stopped by the police costs you 50 credits. Some infractions, like losing the bike or using a lock of your own will reduce your credits to zero. Users can appeal a points deduction if they feel it unjust. [Mobike via Engadget]