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Auckland's OnzO bike explosion

By Carla Penman

Nearly a thousand more black and yellow bikes are set to crop up all over Auckland within weeks.

In November, the Auckland Council issued its first mobile trading licence for a dockless bike share system to Onzo. The licence was for a trial period over the summer through until the February 28.

The distinctive, smartphone activated bikes which cost 25 cents per 15 minutes to hire, have since been found parked outside offices, houses, stashed in apartment buildings or dumped on the roadside.

NZH Focus had an exclusive peek inside the Onzo headquarters on Lorne St on Thursday.

The rooftop office with a sunny conservatory, is quite the contrast to the bikes outside.

It's strewn with a large number of damaged, helmetless and even a couple of graffitied bikes in need of repairs.

Bruce Qin, who is one of the partners at Onzo, says the damage to the bikes is unacceptable but expected.

"You can't really stop one of two people... We don't want it to happen but we just deal with it."

He says their biggest concern at present is around helmets not being left on the bikes properly.

Aside from that, Qin says he's happy with how things are tracking, pointing out that more than 20,000 people had registered since November.

He says there are currently about 600 bikes around Auckland that his staff of nine monitor 24 hours a day. That bike-load is set to climb, Qin says.

"We are expecting another 900 in four weeks' time and then we still got another three containers with around another 600 bikes in two or three months."

He hopes the concept of bike sharing will be better understood and people will stop stashing them in apartment buildings.

"We don't own the bikes, nobody owns the bikes, everyone uses the bikes for their convenience."

He says they're currently working on the second generation of bikes which will be semi-electric and released later this year.

Qin is hopeful that his licence will continue to be renewed.

While there have been no complaints about Onzo reported to Auckland Council, Auckland Transport has had a small number of queries about the bikes and their parking spots.

The council has confirmed another bike share company's application is also under way.

- NZ Herald

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