Wellingtonians go gonzo over Onzo bikes
Wellingtonians are leaping onto little black and yellow bicycles as the city embraces its first bike share scheme.
Onzo’s six-month trial started on 6 October. In its first two weeks more than 11,000 people have registered and nearly 14,000 trips have been taken.
“It is a trial to test the market and the demand certainly appears to be there. Wellingtonians have embraced the bike share scheme which is fantastic,” says Mayor Justin Lester.
“The central city seems well suited to the bikes and it’s great to see all sorts of people using them.
“We are investing in cycling infrastructure and the uptake of Onzo shows people will be using it. More people are getting out of their vehicles and choosing the healthy option of cycling and walking.”
Onzo’s Chief Operating Officer, Harry Yang, says they had no expectations about numbers when they launched but they are delighted with the uptake.
“The reaction has been overwhelmingly positive. People are tagging Onzo on social media and it seems they are really enjoying the service. It’s quite exciting.
“Wellingtonians appear to be treating the bikes with more respect than in Auckland, where the company started, and there haven’t been any cases of them being abandoned in odd places here,” he says.
The compactness of Wellington City and possibly a different cycling culture may be what makes biking an attractive option, he added.
Onzo employs six staff in Wellington to look after the 200 bikes.
City Councillor Sarah Free who holds the City Council’s cycling portfolio, says the arrival of Onzo is timely given the increased investment in cycling infrastructure in the city.
“The Onzo bikes offer people a chance to see for themselves how convenient a bike might be for their journeys, and we anticipate more people will consider riding as part of their normal routine as a result of this.
“The bikes have been a fun and zany addition to the city and it’s great to see how popular they have been with young people in particular.”
To hire the bikes, people have to download the Onzo app, create an account and log in to find the nearest bike. All bikes come with a helmet and lights. The cost to hire a bike is 25 cents for every 15 minutes.
People hiring the bikes are encouraged to park them beside a bike stand – the trip is easily finished when the user pulls down the lock on the back wheel.
There are some parking restrictions on the Golden Mile, Cuba Mall, the waterfront and in central city parks.
Bikes will be regularly maintained and redistributed around the city by Onzo to make sure lots of bikes are not left in a few locations.
figures as at 21 October:
Registered users: 11,236
Number of trips: 13,910
Replenished helmets: 21.