Uber announced today that it will begin offering bike-share options for users in San Francisco, thanks to a partnership with a New York City-based e-bike company called Jump. The inclusion of bike-share in Uber’s app will certainly be seen as a boost to the nascent bike-share industry, which has been experimenting with electric and dockless options as it grows across the world.
Starting next week, Uber users who are interested in taking two wheels instead of four can tap the “bike” option in the app, located in the top left corner of the home screen. From there, users will see available bikes near them that they can reserve. After reaching their destinations, bikes will need to be left at a public rack in the designated “bike zone” shown on the app’s map.
there are only 250 Jump bikes located in the city
Users in San Francisco who are interested in joining the limited trial can join Uber’s waitlist. Presently, there are only 250 Jump bikes located in the city, which means Uber will have to limit the number of people using its app to access them. Of course, Jump has its own app for those who wish to use its bikes outside Uber’s permissions.
Formerly known as Social Bicycles, Jump received exclusive permission from the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Authority (SFMTA) to launch its service just a couple of weeks ago. One could say that Uber jumped at the opportunity to team up with the fast-growing e-bike service. (Sorry.)
Jump’s bicycles have built-in u-bar locks that allow them to be secured to existing bike racks or the “furniture zone of the sidewalk,” which is where you see things like light poles, benches, and utility poles. Since dockless bikes are pretty new, SFMTA is using the next 18 months to assess the program to see if it works before allowing Jump to offer its services in the long term. In other words: Uber’s partnership with the company could be short-lived.
It is certainly the case that dockless bikes are gaining steam across the country. Unlike fixed-dock bike-share services like Motivate’s Ford GoBike in San Francisco, CitiBike in New York City, and Capital Bikeshare in Washington, DC, station-less services like Jump, Mobike, Ofo, Spin, and LimeBike can be picked up and dropped off anywhere there is space for bike parking. Some, like Jump, also offer electrically powered pedal assistance, which is sure to help when you’re trying to tackle San Francisco’s notorious hills.
The addition of a bike option in Uber’s app raises the possibility that other transportation options, like subways and buses, will also be integrated into the ride-hail service’s app down the line. With so many travel options these days, there is certainly a demand among consumers for more aggregation. Navigation apps like Transit, Citymapper, and Google Maps now list ride-hailing options alongside transit routes. People want to compare prices and make informed decisions, and there is a race among companies to be the first to offer that multimodal service.