Uber to introduce dockless electric-assist bicycles in Denver

Today, via the Uber app, you can hop on a Jump electric bicycle.

A promotional photo of a JUMP bike (courtesy of Uber)

A promotional photo of a JUMP bike (courtesy of Uber)

Allan Tellis. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

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If you’ve found riding bike shares just a bit too much effort and riding electric dockless scooters on the sidewalks a bit too easy and sidewalk-y, Uber has something to offer you: Jump.

Uber has joined the emerging wave of private multi-modal transportation options and today Jump electric-assist bikes will be available via the Uber app to help Denverites get around.

The addition of the electric element to the dockless bike-share game will make Jump a slightly different experience than those that already exist according to Dave Nelson, the regional general manager of Jump, because it will allow customers to go further, faster and more comfortably.

“We’re really focused on changing the way city moves,” said Nelson. “Essentially what you’re going to see is your going to open your app and see three to four different ways to get from point A to point B.”

The cost of hoping on a Jump bike is comparable to the other bike sharing options as it will cost you $1 to unlock via the Uber app and then 15 cents for every minute you ride after that. Unlike the woes caused by “scooter gate”, the release of 250 Jump bikes into the wild today has been carefully coordinated with city officials who according to Nelson are very excited about the opportunity this presents for Denver’s transit scene.

The city has approved the pilot bike-share program launching in the greater downtown neighborhoods which includes these areas: Highland, Five Points, Cherry Creek and Hilltop. According to Heather Burke-Bellile, a spokeswoman for Denver Public Works, Uber was actually approved for 500 bikes but they don’t plan on scaling up to that number until the first quarter of 2019.

“Our mission at Jump is to get more people on bikes, so they have affordable and convenient ways to move around without needing a car,” said Ryan Rzepecki, co-founder and CEO of Jump bikes, in a press release. “We believe bikeshare will be a permanent cornerstone of Denver’s transportation system, and give Denver residents yet another option to move about the city.”

Uber’s system will alert the company when there is an over-concentration of bikes in an area, and they’ll respond accordingly to disperse them throughout the city. They also actively encourage their users to lock their bikes next to fixed structures and at a minimum be placed out of the public right away to keep their bikes from becoming a public nuisance.

Unlike other dockless bike-sharing apps, Uber’s system requires that the bikes will be locked to something, as opposed to simply being able to be virtually locked anywhere. They will also have a customer service line that people can call into if they are experiencing issues with the bikes being left haphazardly throughout their neighborhood or are not functioning properly.

Denver will be the eighth city in the country with Jump bikes, and Nelson says Jump bikes will go a step further than other solutions that solve the “last mile problem” as they could eliminate the need for multiple modes of transit in one trip because they allow riders to cover greater distances.

“Rather than being the last mile, in a city like Denver, trips can be 2 to 4 to 6 miles, and Jump can help you get out of your car or get out of your rideshare,” he said. He joked that one benefit of using the electric bikes is you still get to ride a bike, which is fun and exciting, without having to show up to your destination sweaty.

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