Ofo confirmed it will shut down operation in Seattle Monday afternoon after the city adopted a new $250,000 annual fee for bikeshare operators.
Related: Seattle adopts 250K annual fee for bikeshare companies that could pump the brakes on the new mobility service
Ofo is one of three companies permitted to launch in Seattle under a one-year dockless bikeshare pilot. The pilot concluded this month and the city is finalizing regulations for a permanent bikeshare program — one that will not include Ofo’s bright yellow bikes.
Ofo’s Seattle General Manager, Lina Feng, issued the following statement after the City Council unanimously approved the new fee:
The exorbitant fees that accompany these new regulations — the highest in the country — make it impossible for Ofo to operate and effectively serve our riders, and as a result, we will not be seeking a permit to continue operating in Seattle. We’re incredibly disappointed to be leaving the first U.S. city to welcome Ofo and thank the City for its partnership and support this last year.
Although the new fee clearly impacted Ofo’s decision, the Beijing bikesharing company has been pulling out of markets across the U.S. Last week, Ofo confirmed widespread layoffs, with several news outlets reporting more than half the company’s American workforce had been let go. A former Ofo employee told GeekWire that the company’s entire American communications team had been laid off.
Seattle’s permanent bikeshare program allows four companies to operate in the city. Lime has already announced plans to apply for a permit and accept the $250,000 fee. Spin, the other company in Seattle’s pilot, could not immediately be reached to comment. If both companies remain in Seattle, that leaves room for two new entrants.