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Ofo Cycle Hire Rides Away from London

If you are a Londoner, you will be well aware of Ofo; a cycle hire firm that at one point had 6000 bikes dotted around the capital city. But today, the firm has announced that they will be pulling out of London, no longer offering their services to London’s commuters and tourists.

According to sources, the Chinese-owned brand is struggling to fight off bankruptcy, with exiting London being a strategic move to save the company. Backed by Alibaba, the brand introduced yellow bikes that users could leave in the streets of London, permitted to be hired through applications with complete ease.

Just a few months ago, the hire firm decided to ditch Norwich, Sheffield and Oxford, removing their bikes from the cities so that they could focus on London.

However, with a large proportion of their bikes either disappearing or vandalised, it appears their venture was short-lived. This, paired with a string of large competitors in the market, some would argue that this eventuality was inescapable.

Now, Ofo shows many signs of winding down, giving their last 50 employees the option to leave or take a 50% salary cut and move over to their Chinese division.

What does the future hold for London’s bike hire industry?

Last year, Ofo’s Chinese rival, Bluegogo, ceased trading, leaving Ofo to go head-to-head with Mobike’s in a race to become the ‘Uber of bikes’.

But, many criticised the quality of the bikes themselves. Emily Brooke, the owner of Beryl, which provides laserlights for Santander bikes, said the following of Ofo and Mobike:

“They haven’t got the ability to tailor their offering to different areas; they’ve got one model from China.”

Let us know what you think. What does the future hold for London’s bike hire industry? Is there now room for a new bike hire firm to come and clear up?

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Audi on Demand: German Carmakers Roll out Rental Scheme

Audis are notoriously beautiful, being the epitome of fine German craftsmanship.

While be a stunning vehicle make, Audis are for many; unobtainable, usually sporting a high price tag. Until now that is. In addition to car rental firms, Audi will now offer Audi hire directly, this month rolling out the Audi on Demand service.

In essence, this is a product that permits renters to hire Audi cars directly from UK dealerships. As present, the Audi on Demand service will be promoted at eight different dealerships dotted across the country, with the brand evidently wanting to make Audi cars more accessible to the masses.

Bye bye to car ownership

This comes at a time where most of the UK’s drivers are moving away from vehicle ownership, with more and more motorists exploring leasing and rental options than ever before.

Positioning themselves as a modern brand that is moving with the times, many expect this venture to work well, with Audi doing all they can to offer a faultless, streamlined hire service. This includes arranging drivers’ insurance, valeting the vehicle before hiring it out and offering clear terms and conditions with regards to deposits and damages.

What’s more is that renters must be at least 21 years old to hire through the scheme, having the option to rent an Audi for as little as 30 minutes or as long as 28 days. All bookings will be conducted through their state-of-the-art application, meaning Audi rental is accessible on the move, 24 hours a day!

Targeting both young drivers as well as the corporate market, this is a great example of how vehicle brands are using modern technology to streamline and improve their products to make for leaner business models.

Let us know what you think.

Is this a tell-tale sign of struggling times or is Audi simply giving modern consumers what they want and need?

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Sixt Invest in Berlin Startup; Chargery

One of the world’s largest car rental corporations, Sixt, has this week announced details of their latest investment, now owning shares in Berlin-based startup, Chargery.

As one of the most innovative startups in the electric car space, Chargery offers mobile electric car charging through machines attached to bicycles. Making for road-side charging, this business is actively making electric car charging more accessible, something many thought leaders have criticised the industry for.

With a strong and ever-growing electric fleet, Sixt has recently added the BMW i3, the BMW i8 and other hybrid cars to their collection, making this deal a well-timed one.

Catching the eye of many big firms, Sixt are not the only firm to have recently bought shares in this forward-thinking business. Daimler, DriveNow and VW Commercial Vehicles are just a few names hedging their bets on Chargery. This is arguably due to the modern nature of the firm, with their power bank only using energy from renewables. This permits brands such as Daimler to achieve their sustainability goals.

What’s more is that one full charge with 3.7 kW takes just 4.5 hours; a pretty commendable time when compared to other charging options.

While eager to get a return on the money they have invested in their share, Sixt will also be using the firm themselves, utlilsiing the on-trailer chargers for their own fleet of vehicles. It has also been suggested that Sixt will make use of Chargery’s car-cleaning and valet service; a strand to the firm’s bow that could be just as profitable as the charging itself.

At present, this only applies in Berlin. However, if the brand is gathering attention from such high-profile brands, expansion is arguably inevitable.

Let us know what you think, is this a wise move for Sixt? Leave your thoughts and opinions below.

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New Car Rental Scheme Could Combat Terrorism

Over the past five years, the vehicle rental industry has come under fire for their vetting processes, with a number of rented cars and vans being used in terrorist attacks. Seeing both the public and governing bodies call for changes to be made, it appears the UK is finally making progress in this troublesome area.

Launched by Department for Transport (DfT), the security scheme strives to increase counter-terrorism awareness, limiting the risk of rented and leased motors being used as weapons. This will be achieved by a new Code of Practice; developed by DfT in partnership with BVRLA.

Rental firms can voluntarily join in on the scheme, seeing them share their data with relevant law enforcement organisations, train their staff in a certain way and generally work in a more preventative manner. It will now be rental business’ responsibility to report suspicious behaviour and very much work in coalition with the law.

Under the scheme, companies will also be encouraged to only take payments for vehicles by card only, ensuring all customers are trackable.

Thrilled to launch the scheme, BVRLA chief executive Gerry Keaney, said:

“The BVRLA has been instrumental in leading the sector’s response to the emerging and increasingly present threat of vehicles being used in acts of terror.

“During the past two years we have worked closely with government and law enforcement organisations and although there is no single panacea for combatting terrorism, the vehicle rental sector is committed to doing all it can to deter those seeking to inflict harm on our communities.

“Long before the publication of government’s Contest counter-terrorism strategy, which outlined a commitment to working with our sector on measures to improve counter-terrorism awareness, we had already been leading the way in developing and delivering free sector-specific CT-awareness training to members, and non-members.

“Although those working in daily rental cannot, and should not, be expected to carry out the role of law enforcement, all UK citizens, including those working in our sector have an important role to play in the fight against terrorism by being vigilant and reporting anything suspicious.

“We would encourage all those operating in short-term vehicle rental to register for the scheme.”

Let us know what you think. Is this scheme the best way to tackle rental vehicles being used unlawfully? Leave your thoughts and comments with us.

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Uber Put Brakes on Rental Program for Riders

Uber, one of the greatest transport brands of our time, has this week put the brakes on their Uber Rent project; a rental car program for riders.

Partnering with Getaround for this venture, Uber permitted users to book and hire privately-owned cars as and when they needed them. Available in San Francisco through the app, the aim of the product was to reduce car ownership whilst expanding their portfolio of transport projects.

“We know you’ve relied on Uber Rent powered by Getaround, and apologize for the inconvenience this may cause you,” Uber wrote in a statement.

Though a slightly negative story surrounding the rental firm, all in all, it has been a great week for the brand.

The valuation

Earlier this week, Uber justified its $170 Billion valuation. Expected to file for IBO in 2019, the company has worked hard to arrive at such a price tag, having made many tweaks to the way they do business in the run-up to the floatation. From limiting driver incentives to cutting customer promotions, the brand has successfully made the Uber group more profitable.

Nelson Chai, Uber’s chief financial officer, said:

“We had another strong quarter for a business of our size and global scope.

“As we look ahead to an IPO and beyond, we are investing in future growth across our platform, including in food, freight, electric bikes and scooters, and high-potential markets in India and the Middle East where we continue to solidify our leadership position.”

Is the valuation of £90M too ambitious?

While $120M (£90M) is easy to say, this valuation would make Uber more than three times more valuable than Ford. When considering that the firm is yet to make a profit, could this valuation still be pretty ambitious? Let us know your thoughts by leaving your comments with us.

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Limo hire firm, Limo Broker unveils new website

Limo Broker is the UK’s largest limousine hire brand that works hard to remain the home of luxury vehicle hire, catering to customers’ needs and wants when it comes to planning transport. Understanding how important it is for brands to move with the times, they have this week unveiled a new website, launching a redesign of the popular limo hire site; limobroker.co.uk.

Commissioning MOBO Media to conduct the redesign, this new website is something they are thrilled to finally be sharing with you.

“The project’s aim was to give our much-valued customers a performant, reliable, efficient and smooth method to book limos online; an ambition that MOBO has well and truly achieved” Limo Broker claim.

Fast and simple

Digging deep into the analytics of their site, the agency found that users were shopping for limos, chauffeur cars and supercars using all types of devices. Wanting to accommodate all visitors, they ensured the website was coded and designed using the latest tech and coding standards, presenting itself beautifully on desktops, laptops, tablets and smartphones.

The lead designer on the project explains:

“At the forefront of this new design was the focus on accessibility, accessibility in this sense means users of all abilities having access to the site and the ability to control it. Accessibility on the web typically refers to users with handicaps, such as vision impairment, limited mobility of limbs and other physical or mental factors that affect their use of websites and technology.”

Navigation

Utilising the wonders of HTML, the website now boasts a clean, simplified structure, making it incredibly user-friendly. Starting from scratch and hand-coded, this website has been built specifically by with Limo Broker’s customers in mind.

Placing a huge focus on navigation, the new site sees all the information users want within reach, putting just seconds between logging on and receiving vehicle hire confirmation. With an all-new simple, 3-colour design, users with limited vision can differentiate between elements, with the design team ensuring adequate spacing between clickable elements. All these features combine to make for the best possible browsing experience.

“For design performance, we opted to use techniques that help us write highly optimised website styles that give us longevity, for this we used SCSS a library that helps our developers write CSS (The code that changes how the site looks and feels” MOBO continues.

We at AnythingForHire.Com would like to congratulate both MOBO and Limo Broker on this new site. Any site that makes vehicle rental simple is fine by us!

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More Just Eat Rental Bikes for Edinburgh

Back in September, Just Eat rental bicycles were launched in Edinburgh, with the cycle scheme praised for encouraging eco-friendly travel in the city. The firm initially started their venture with 200 bikes and 24 hire points. However, with the scheme proving to be rather popular, the numbers of bikes and users have grown rapidly, with Just Eat having no option but to roll out further hire points in the west of the capital.

As it stands, Edinburgh boasts 320 bikes and 31 hire points, with the city continuously investing in sustainable projects of this nature.

But, it appears Just Eat is not stopping there, with an additional 17 virtual cycle hire points to be added across the capital. This is in addition to three docked hire points, making bicycle hire more accessible to both the residents and tourists of Edinburgh.

With 9,278 trips taking place in the first 9 weeks of the scheme, the Council has had no choice but to back further schemes.

The public has spoken

Saughton, Morningside, Leith, Newington and Marchmont are just a handful of areas set to welcome stations in the coming months.

These locations have been suggested by the general public, with past users and possible future customers deciding where they would most like to hire bikes from.

Transport for Edinburgh chief executive George Lowder, MBE, said:

“This roll out strategy will bring a number of areas into the scheme’s network for the first time, not only helping users make the journey’s they want to, but will encourage more people to use the scheme to complement the modes of transport they already use.

“We are extremely grateful for 187 suggestions put forward so far for new cycle hire points via the website. All of these sites are being considered as part of our ongoing network planning.”

Let us know what you think, should every UK city be following in the footsteps of Edinburgh?

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Ford Acquire Scooter Hire Startup, Spin

As covered in a recent post by the Anything for Hire team, scooter hire has made its way to London, with Bird last month announcing that it was renting its vehicles out in London’s Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.

While only just making their first moves in the city, it appears they already have a competitor. Just this week, Ford announced that they had bought scooter rental startup, Spin; a business that will go head to head with Bird, Lime and other rental organisations. While claiming to be reducing congestion on the roads, many have criticised brands such a Lime and Spin for causing more hazards on our roads. However, both Spin and Ford are confident that their vehicles and rental model ticks all the boxes.

Acquiring the Californian-based business, Ford has high hopes for this venture. Releasing a statement on the subject, Ford said:

“The acquisition of Spin is the latest strategic move by Ford in the mobility space, as the company builds a mobility portfolio to help customers get places more easily, more quickly and less expensive”.

While the sum paid for the startup is yet to be disclosed, some publications have priced the purchase at £77 Million.

Equally as thrilled to see this deal take shape was Spin. Announcing details of the acquisition on Twitter, they wrote:

“We’re excited to announce that Spin is joining the @Ford team! Over the next year, we plan to launch in 100+ markets in close collaboration with cities, transportation planners, advocates, & community and in close collaboration with cities, transportation planners, advocates, & community and workforce group.”

As a hugely exciting part of the industry, the appetite for scooter hire is increasing dramatically in areas such as California.

But, will the success story be repeated here in the UK? Let us know what you think. Is this a good investment for Ford?

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Enterprise Donates $1M to Charity

While a brand that is known for its savvy nature, enterprise appear to be taking the subject of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) seriously. According to a recent press release, the car rental firm has donated a whopping $1M to the American Red Cross.

This has come from the philanthropic arm of Enterprise Rent-A-Car; The Enterprise Foundation.

The money will be used to help those impacted by Huracan Michael; the third-most intense Atlantic hurricane on record. As an active member of the Red Cross Annual Disaster Giving Program, Enterprise’s donation was warmly received.

“We are extremely grateful for our ADGP and Disaster Responder members because they understand the importance of having vital resources in place before a disaster strikes,” said Gail McGovern, president and CEO at the American Red Cross.

“Their support ensures that the necessary supplies get into any affected area to immediately provide support to disaster survivors and emergency personnel. We are very thankful for their generous gifts as we work to help people impacted by disasters each and every day.”

Putting a huge amount of time and effort to offer disaster relief, the Enterprise Foundation has donated a total of $2.8m to such causes in 2018 alone. Having supported those harmed by Hurricane Florence, the California wildfires, Hawaii’s floods and Kilauea Volcano eruption, we at Anything for Hire cannot commend the brand enough.

Enterprise Rent-A-Car: More than a car hire brand

Enterprise Rent-A-Car is one of the world’s largest and most profitable car hire firms, supplying over 2 million cars to hirers annually. But, it appears that their focus is on a lot more than being the world’s first choice for car hire. According to sources, this substantial donation is not just about money. As stated in the official  press release, they will also be sending their vehicles to disaster areas, getting their hands dirty and supporting impacted communities with the clean-up process.

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Enterprise expands in Manchester Airport

One of Europe’s largest car hire operators, Enterprise, has this month announced further details of their expansion. According to the firm, Enterprise is expanding its operations in Manchester Airport, tripling their fleet at the base.

This is due to an increase in the demand, with the current fleet and workforce stretched to fulfil reservations. In order to manage the new and improved fleet, Enterprise is recruiting for eight new jobs at the airport. These roles include a branch manager, five graduate management trainees and two customer service representatives. The business has also announced plans for an additional recruitment drive further down the line, wanting to recruit local people and inject money into the local economy.

The new team will manage an all-new fleet of hatchbacks, saloons, executive cars, people carriers and premium vehicles; wanting to offer something to all renters throughout the year. According to a recent research project, Manchester Airport is experiencing more and more visitors from the UK, USA and Europe, expecting further increases in passenger numbers in the coming months.

Gary Palmer, general manager at Enterprise, said the following:

“We’ve experienced major growth at Manchester Airport and needed more space to provide an ever-growing number of customers more choice and a wider range of vehicles.
“This expanded branch will help us provide a comprehensive range of vehicles both to travellers and to customers located nearby, allowing us to offer an even better service to leisure and business renters.”

And, it is not in Manchester Enterprise are experiencing growth. Over the course of the past 24 months, the company has rented cars to customers from 150 different countries. These include Nepal, Yemen and Vanuatu.

Let us know what you think, should Enterprise be placing more focus on other UK airports?