Throughout downtown San Diego and its surrounding areas, dockless bike sharing has quietly started becoming a thing. You can’t walk a block without running into a bike, perched up on the sidewalk. According to Neowin, Uber seems to want in on the action, having just acquired bike-sharing startup Jump.
Requesting a bike is nearly as simple as hailing an Uber ride. Within the Uber app, users can select the Bike option and it will display a number of bikes parked nearby. Users can then reserve a bike for use, and pick it up wherever it is. A PIN is given to unlock the reserved bike. Once at the destination, users lock the bike at any public rack. The service charges $2 per half-hour ride, and around 7 cents per additional minute.
Uber began a trial run of the program earlier this year in San Francisco, dubbing the pilot Uber Bike by Jump. With a limited number of bikes, San Franciscans had to join a waitlist to participate. The pilot must have gone well, since Uber has decided to purchase the company outright. Jump now acts as a subsidiary of Uber, allowing the company to expand its offerings.
“We’re excited to begin our next chapter and to play a significant part in the transition of Uber to a multi-modal platform,” said Jump CEO Ryan Rzepecki.”Combining JUMP’s track record of product innovation and city partnerships with Uber’s scale, operational excellence, and resources will allow us to make a global impact faster than if we were to pursue our vision alone.”
The acquisition may have cost somewhere around $100 million, according to a report by TechCrunch. The deal gives Uber access to Jump’s army of fully-electric, GPS-enabled bikes scattered among 40 cities around the world. It also gives Jump the backing to help expand the service to more cities and countries.
With the recent boom of bike-sharing services, there is a concern that streets may become cluttered with bikes and scooters left lying around. San Diego has seen its share of haters since the city partnered with LimeBike and Ofo to provide a similar service. The above photo is the perfect example of why we can’t have nice things.
Perhaps with a big name like Uber behind the new service, the public will have a better view of bike sharing. It helps when the service is baked into something that so many people already use, as opposed to downloading a new app from a fairly unknown startup. It may also add a level of legitimacy to the bike sharing business, and will perhaps encourage greater adoption and better bike care.
Maybe a user’s rating could be affected by their (mis)handling of a bike?