Expanding transportation focus, Uber inks deal to acquire bike sharing startup Jump

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Ride-hailing company Uber Technologies said on Monday it has agreed to buy electric bicycle service Jump Bikes, allowing Uber to offer United States passengers an alternative to cars and further consolidating the crowded bike-sharing industry.

The bikes feature an electric motor in the front wheel and a battery concealed in the frame. First off, the bikes are electric bikes (or e-bikes). Most bike share programs in the United States have begun with the bikes needing to be docked, as US municipalities fear the pitfalls of dockless bike share programs in Asia. This isn't a new concept for the ride-hailing company: In February, Khosrowshahi said he hoped to one day use Uber's platform to run a city's bus system. Because they are dockless, they can be left at 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.

Two months ago, Uber incorporated JUMP bikes into its app for San Francisco users, a city where JUMP has 250 bikes. From there, the customer reserved a bicycle and was charged $2 for 30 minutes and then a per-minute fee after that.

"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 wrote in his blog post. While no hard figures have been announced, Uber reportedly forked over somewhere in the ballpark of $100 million for the deal, according to TechCrunch. "Achieving that goal ultimately means improving urban life by reducing congestion, pollution, and the need for parking spaces".

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Unlike other bike sharing programs, JUMP bicycles include electric-assist technology that allows users to more easily scale hills or move quickly without breaking a sweat.

But back to Jump, the service which started a decade ago as a traditional city bike share program called Social Bikes. "So it's about offering multi-modal transport". Prior to that it sold dockless bikes to a variety of clients like small fleet operators in more than 40 markets. So it's not hard to imaging Uber pushing consumers to order from its own virtual restaurant and have that meal delivered on an Uber e-bike.

The integrated U-bar on the JUMP bike allows you to easily lock it to anything from a bike rack to a light pole.

"Autonomous cars are coming and in big cities you won't need to own a vehicle in future". Today, we help tens of millions of people get a ride at the tap of a button.

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