Jump Bikes has a new proprietor: Uber. The bike-sharing company, launched as Social Bicycles in 2011, runs GPS-enabled programs in twelve cities all over the world, including Portland, Oregon, and Phoenix, Arizona. In San Francisco, Jump’s offerings are both electric and dockless–twin cycling innovations that helped kick off a nationwide( and global) bike-sharing craze.
The acquisition is a signal that Uber doesn’t want to be seen as just a taxi replace, but an urban mobility company. “We’re committed to bringing together multiple modes of transportation within the Uber app–so that you can choose the most wonderful or most affordable way to get where you’re going, whether that’s in an Uber, on a motorcycle, on the metro, or more, ” Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi wrote in a blog post. This isn’t a new theory for the ride-hailing company: In February, Khosrowshahi said he hoped to one day use Uber’s platform to run a city’s bus system.
So the acquisition seems a natural fit for Uber. For one, Jump Bike is already integrated into the ride-hail service, thanks to a two month-old pilot that allows San Francisco Uber customers to reserve electric bicycles from inside the Uber app.
But more pressingly for the ride-hailing business, bike-sharing, and especially electric bike-sharing, poses a particular threat to the industry at large. Unlike, say, an Uber, bikes don’t get caught in traffic.( Nice bonus: The bikes’ pedal-assist features entail riders won’t end up at their destination drenched in sweat .) Also, with a base fare of$ 2 per 30 minutes, a Jump ride can be cheaper than even an Uber Express Pool.