China’s bike-sharing firm Mobike confirmed on Wednesday that it was pulling out of Manchester this week after losing ten per cent of its bicycles each month to theft and vandalism.
According to a statement by Mobike, the company suffered “unsustainable” losses as too many of its bikes had been stolen, dumped in canals and bins, had locks hacked off, or been set on fire. Customers in Manchester should have their deposits and credit refunded in the next few days, the company said. It has already started removing the bicycles and will transfer them to London, Oxford, Cambridge and Newcastle, where it will continue to operate. Two weeks ago Mobike warned that if the users in Manchester kept destroying the bikes the service would be withdrawn. It said about ten percent of its bikes were destroyed or stolen in each month during the summer.
In June 2017, Manchester became Mobike’s first launch outside Asia. It is also the first city to lose its Mobike privileges due to antisocial behavior, according to Steve Milton, Mobike’s UK spokesman. The Guardian newspaper said Mobike’s claim that the dockless bicycles were ‘vandal-proof’ was taken as a challenge by a small number of people who set about proving it wrong. Mobike said in the statement it would conduct a full review of its time in Manchester, and intended to submit a proposal to the council “to offer an alternative affordable future model for bike sharing that could be relaunched in partnership with the local authorities”. Mancunians have taken 250,000 trips, cycling more than 180,000 miles (289,682 kilometers) since Mobike service was launched, the company said.