Uber acquires electric bike sharing company Jump

Uber has acquired Jump, an electric bike-sharing company which is an Uber partner in San Francisco. TechCrunch which had earlier reported that JUMP was in talks with Uber for investment including Sequoia Capital's Mike Moritz while contemplating a sale of $100 million pegged the final price closer to $200 million based on its sources.

"As our new CEO (Dara Khosrowshahi) has said, it is appropriate to regulate services such as Uber and so we will continue the dialogue with cities across Europe", an Uber spokesperson told AFP.

Although now only operating in San Francisco and Washington D.C., Jump has stated it intends to expand operations domestically and overseas, with plans for Europe in 2019.

"Our ultimate goal is one we share with cities around the world: making it easier to live without owning a personal auto". The company has already announced a pilot program, which integrates an e-bike service into the company's core mobile app, in San Francisco.

What cities will like look when electric bikes flood the streets remains to be seen, as the industry is still in its "testing" phase. I met a number of PHC drivers and taxi drivers following the announcement of Grab's merger with Uber's Southeast Asia operations.

Jump also offers the convenience of being dockless, meaning customers can leave the bikes anywhere in the city provided they are locked to a bike rack or utility pole.

As pollution rates spiral in today's modern cities, governments worldwide are constantly implementing schemes to try and entice citizens to make use of public transport and, in some cases, more eco-friendly options.

The EU's top court on Tuesday backed the right of member states like France to ban a service by ridesharing firm Uber without notifying Brussels, in a fresh setback to the U.S. giant. Because they are dockless, they can be left on any public bike rack, eliminating a lot of the infrastructure cost other bike-share companies incur, and their location is tracked via Global Positioning System. Ofo is the bike sharing business of Didi and is directly promoted by it. Grab's OBike is also part of its own stable.

Jump CEO Ryan Rzepecki, who incorporated the company in 2010 and launched its first pilot a few years later, said the company's brand will live on. They could then choose from 250 Jump bikes available in the city.

When Uber was launched it offered ride-sharing for its users who could summon transportation via the app.

An even bigger challenge for Uber will be profitability.

In France, the Hong Kong-based dockless bike company Gobee.bike recently ended its service, saying in a statement that "the mass destruction of our fleet has become the new entertainment of underaged individuals".

There also are established competitors for Uber to deal with, like New York's Citi Bike program, which saw its 50 millionth ride a year ago. It also expects to expand to 500 bikes in San Francisco in September.

  • Joey Payne