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Uber to buy dockless e-bike hire firm Jump Bikes

Companies have been already collaborating on a bike hire scheme in San Francisco

Uber has agreed to buy dockless e-bike hire firm Jump Bikes, with the company saying that its goal is to help people around the world choose the best means of transport for their urban journeys without having to own a car.

The two companies have collaborated since the start of this year on a trial of 250 of Jump’s orange bikes in San Francisco, Uber’s home city, and they could become a familiar sight elsewhere around the globe in the same way that the hire bikes of Chinese firms such as Ofo and Mobike are now.

Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi, who took up his post last August, said of the acquisition: “Our hometown pilot is off to a very strong start, with riders enjoying a convenient and environmentally friendly way to cruise up and down our trademark hills.

“Jump’s CEO Ryan Rzepecki is an impressive entrepreneur who has spent the better part of a decade bringing bike-sharing to life across the globe.”

He added: "We're committed to bringing together multiple modes of transportation within the Uber app – so that you can choose the fastest or most affordable way to get where you're going, whether that's in an Uber, on a bike, on the subway, or more."

In a post on Medium, Jump Bikes founder Rzepecki spoke of how he had conceived the company when completing his master’s degree in 2008, with Jump now operates hire schemes with conventional bikes in some 40 cities worldwide.  

Speaking of the background to the deal announced today, he said: “When we first began talking to Uber they were going through an extremely difficult time, with negative headlines each week and a massive change in leadership.

“We expected to find a toxic work environment and a broken culture. Instead, everyone we met was smart, passionate, and genuinely wanted to help our team succeed.

“Through our collaboration, we realised that we shared Uber’s vision of multi-modal mobility and had the same goal of decreasing car ownership.

“Even more importantly, we could see the shift in the company once Dara was named CEO as he began leading with humility and in a way that we felt reflected our values.

“It soon became clear that with such strong synergies and alignment on mission, Jump could better accomplish its goals if it were part of Uber.”

Rzepecki added: “We’re excited to begin our next chapter and to play a significant part in the transition of Uber to a multi-modal platform.

“Combining Jump’s track record of product innovation and city partnerships with Uber’s scale, operational excellence, and resources will allow us to make a global impact faster than if we were to pursue our vision alone.”

Simon joined as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

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