YoBike: Bringing Smart Bike-Sharing to Southampton

YoBike, the United Kingdom’s first large-scale dockless bike-sharing system, is expanding its initiative to Southampton.

Free of docking stations, YoBike offers riders a seamless, hassle-free experience. By using a mobile app, riders can find and unlock YoBikes at hundreds of parking spots—and ride them for just £1 per hour.

YoBike will launch an initial fleet of 300 share bikes in Southampton on Tuesday September 19th, with plans to scale to at least 700 bikes in the coming months. The launch is scheduled to coincide with the return of the community’s 40,000-strong student population.

Southampton is the second UK market for YoBike, following its successful launch in Bristol, where it doubled its predicted uptake. Rapidly growing since May, YoBike now has more than 25,000 registered users using a fleet of 1,000 bikes, taking more than 1,500 rides throughout Bristol every day.

“YoBike is far exceeding our expectations in Bristol, so we’re thrilled to bring our world-class shared cycling initiative to Southampton,” said YoBike Co-Founder & CEO Michael Qian. “Southampton is a vibrant city, ideal for getting around and discovering all it has to offer by bike.”

Unlike traditional bike-sharing initiatives, YoBike has eliminated the need for costly, obstructive and faraway docking stations, which have limited bikes. Instead, individual YoBikes are parked conveniently throughout the city and instantly unlocked with the tap of a mobile app.

Made of high-quality aluminum alloy, the bikes are safe, durable and designed to the most stringent of European standards. They also include inbuilt GPS tracking, an alarm system that goes off when tampered with, and custom parts of little use to standard bikes, thus tricky to resell.

YoBike was founded by Qian, a Cambridge University engineering graduate who previously worked at management consultancy McKinsey and US investment bank Merrill Lynch. Qian’s co-founder is Forbes 30 under 30 entrepreneur Bin Wang.

YoBike rides cost £1 per hour, capped at £5 for a full 24 hours of cycling. There is also a £39 annual YoBike membership. Student’s and faculty members who sign-up using their university email are eligible for a discounted annual membership of £29 per year. Qian said: “In Bristol we’re seeing a huge demand from students wanting an easy, affordable and fun commute that works for them and for the environment. We are incredibly excited to extend the possibilities of bike-sharing to Southampton’s vibrant, and progressive student community.

Central to YoBike’s mission is not only to reduce congestion and carbon emissions, but to also cultivate wellness within communities. The App itself encourages healthy living, allowing users to record calories burned, time travelled and carbon emissions reduced. Usage data is also shared with local government to assist with future resource planning and congestion initiatives.

YoBike has worked closely with the Southampton City Council to designate hundreds of convenient parking spaces across the city for users to pick up and drop off their bikes. Like its Bristol rollout, YoBike is aligning with council efforts to deliver more sustainable transport.

“We couldn’t be more thrilled and grateful for how receptive the council has been,” said Qian. “YoBike is much more than bike-sharing—we are committed to enhancing the look and feel of the city, and the wellbeing of its communities.”

Councillor Jacqui Rayment, Cabinet Member for Environment and Transport, and Deputy Leader of Southampton City Council said: “Southampton City Council is keen to encourage more people to cycle in the city. Cycling helps to improve air quality for all whilst at the same time providing health and wellbeing benefits.”

YoBike will work in partnership with Southampton-based social enterprise, Monty’s Bike Hub, to help perform maintenance and service checks on YoBikes.

The YoBike App is available for download now, from the Apple App Store and Google Play. Users can visit YoBike.co.uk/download to get the app.


Press Contact

Will Trafford +44 (0)7463 223471


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