Uber says that more people are now riding its Jump electric hire bikes in California’s capital, Sacramento, than are using its ride-sharing cars – with the speed in which the switch of mode has happened coming as a surprise to the company itself.
Jump, which is now active in 12 cities in the US and Germany, launched its dockless e-bike operation in the city, which is home to half a million people, in May last year.
When data relating to parts of the city served by both Jump and Uber were compared, it was discovered that bikes accounted for 53 per cent of trips and cars for 47 per cent.
Alex Hagelin, who heads the Jump Bike operation in the city, told the Sacramento Bee: “We were honestly surprised.
“Uber has been around for years, and in just five months, our bikes were generating more trips. This is the first time we have seen this in any of our cities to date.”
Jump was acquired by Uber in April 2018, and last August began providing electric scooters for hire alongside its bikes.
Discussing the acquisition last year, Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi said: “Individual transportation in cities should not be through cars, it should be through something else, and we want to be a part of figuring out what that mode is and we want to absolutely be a leader in that mode as well.
My guess is that 10 years from now, ride hailing is going to be less than 50 per cent of our business in terms of transactions.”
In the case of Sacramento, that prediction has come true far quicker than expected, and Uber, which operates Jump as well as its car service in 16 cities across the US, expects the pattern to be repeated in other markets too.
Last month, we reported how Uber and Jump are working on ‘self-riding’ versions of electric bikes and scooters – the idea being that they will be able to ride autonomously to charging points, or tow where people want to hire them.
Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.