Uber Tests Bike-Sharing Program in San Francisco | News & Opinion

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Uber is testing the waters on renting out bikes. The company is piloting the program in San Francisco starting next week.

Through the company’s app, users will be able to access “Uber Bike” to find nearby electric bicycles and book one to ride, the company said on Wednesday. The rental fee for a bike is $2 for 30 minutes.

Once the ride is complete, you can lock the bike to any public rack in the bike zone shown on the app’s map,” Uber said.

Uber Bike 3

However, the bicycles don’t belong to Uber. They come from a New York company called Jump Bike, which is partnering with Uber on the project.

Earlier this month, Jump received the first city permit to launch a “stationless” bike-sharing system in San Francisco. These stationless bikes remove the need for a fixed docking station, and can be locked to existing bike racks or parking infrastructure.

The bicycles themselves are built with a GPS tracker, and can be unlocked via a smartphone app.

Unfortunately, under its existing city permit, Jump is limited to offering only 250 bikes, so the pilot from Uber will be limited in scope. San Franciscans can join Uber’s waitlist to learn when bikes will be available to rent.

“While it’s just one small step, pilots like Uber Bike by Jump can add up to major progress, and we can’t wait to see how it goes,” the company said.

So far, both Uber and Jump haven’t said whether other bike-sharing pilots will be arriving elsewhere. “After SF, what’s next? That’s a good question. The answer today is, we’ll see,” Jump said in its own blog post on Wednesday. (Jump also has its own mobile app, which is available for both Android and iOS.)

One potential roadblock facing the companies is convincing cities the parked bicycles won’t clutter up their streets. San Francisco’s municipal transportation authority has said Jump can potentially add 250 more bikes to its program, but only after nine months of evaluation.

The two companies will also have to contend with other bike-sharing services. For instance, Ford GoBike will eventually have 7,000 bicycles across the San Francisco Bay Area by the end of 2018.



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