Ubers bikeshare scheme JUMP is to trial charging stations for its shared e-bike scheme in California. Focusing on key locations such as stations it will allow JUMP bikes to be docked and re-charged for the next user. Previously the e-bikes had to be collected for central charging.
In April 2018 Uber began to broaden its horizons beyond 4-wheeled transport with the aquisition of the JUMP bikeshare scheme. This was followed by a new strategic direction centred around Personal Mobility. Perhaps the key stand out sentence from their recent “Campaign for Sustainable Mobility” is this:
“Our acquisition of JUMP was a direct investment in the idea that the best way to get around a city is sometimes not in a car at all.”
Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi explains:
“We’re partnering closely with public entities including the Sacramento Regional Transit District, Sacramento Council of Governments and California State University, Sacramento, to make e-bikes a viable option for everyday use, whether that’s commuting to your job or getting to and from public transportation.”
Uber also recently acquired Social Bicycles or “SoBi” which operates 15,000 bikes mostly across the US – but with schemes in Derby and Brighton in the UK. CI.N reached out to Brighton retailer Gordon Davey of G-Whizz Cycles, an independent store that focuses on practical commuter bikes, set just one road back from the seafront on the Brighton & Hove border.
He told us “Since the regular scheme came along about a year ago, I haven’t seen any downturn in the number of bikes I’m selling. But I have seen peoples tastes change. They aren’t buying the heavier style Dutch bikes so much any more, having tried something like that as a shared bike, they are tending to want something a little lighter and more sporting. The effect has been kind of balanced.”
We mentioned that several London retailers had been very positive about Mobikes’ recently announced electric bike share plans for London. Gordon agreed wholeheartedly: “As for electric bikes, I really hope they put an electric scheme here. Only a tiny % of my customers have ever heard of or tried an e-bike, and then usually on holiday in Switzerland or somewhere like that. Shared electric bikes could create so many new customers.”
Of course, electric bicycles may not have it all their own way, shared electric scooter schemes (both seated and stand up) are also growing fast. Ubers vision may soon be our new reality.