People there have shown a preference for using this option for a number of reasons. Firstly, it is cheaper than a taxi ride, then it is also faster than a car or bus which needs to deal with the serious traffic congestion in these cities, and also it is a far easier option for people who need to get from one point to another.
In general, electric bikes are much faster and easier to ride than regular bikes. They allow people to ride uphill without too much sweat, and to pass through traffic without getting stuck in it for hours.
Why is e-bike ride sharing so popular?
They are suitable for all kinds of people, no matter what their age or fitness level is which makes them perfect for such an e-bike sharing service.
The e-bike sharing companies are targeting customers who need shorter rides within the city. Jump Bikes claim that their customers rent their electric bikes for tips of an average of 3 miles in San Francisco. Nere which provides similar services in Zurich, Switzerland has calculated that its customers use the rental e-bikes for trips of 3 to 6-mile distances.
The cost is lower than taking a cab, a taxi-sharing service and in some cases – the bus.
Also, in cities with heavy traffic, e-bikes can be faster than the other forms of transportation offered. A Jump e-bike can reach 20 mph, and what is best can pass through routes and among the congested traffic which a car or bus can’t.
The growing popularity of these services is causing the regular taxi, ride-sharing and public transportation services to get a bit nervous about the advent of this new and obviously highly efficient and cheap service.
This, as well as the eco-friendly aspect of the service, is the main reason why Uber quickly pre-oriented its business and acquired Jump Bikes in August 2017, and since then has been offering the e-bike sharing service to its customers in San Francisco and in the other cities where Jump Bike operates as part of its Uber app.
Uber and e-bike sharing
Uber has announced that it will be rolling out an on-demand e-bike service to Europe. This is the next step towards its goal to provide more eco-friendly types of transportation on a global level.
To do this, Uber is opening its own Jump Bike rental service in Berlin, Germany this summer. Plans are that such services will be offered in other European countries soon too.
According to Uber’s CEO Dara Khosrowshahi, electric bikes are an excellent alternative for the traditional Uber car provided services and will allow even better and faster mobility for the users. Not only will the use of e-bikes for getting around help reduce the pollution in the large cities, but it can also help resolve the heavy traffic cities which most of them are facing on a daily basis.
Uber purchased Jump in April this year, and this is Khosrowshahi’s first acquisition since he became CEO in 2017.
It is part of the ride-sharing company’s long-term strategy to provide users worldwide with not only the traditional taxi-style services but also add other services such as food deliveries via flying cars.
Since the German e-bike market is already booming, Uber will be facing competition for other similar services such as China’s LimeBike and Mobike, and Singapore’s OBike companies which have already set up their business in many European and US cities. They use mobile apps which allow customers to find the bike closest to them and then leave the bike wherever they want after they are done with the ride.
Uber is also planning to bring its new UberGreen service to Berlin, which includes the use of electric cars for the rides ordered by the customers.
Uber already provides Jump Bike services in Washington D.C., San Francisco and in other cities. Customers there can take 30-minute trips on an electric bike for $2. The pricing for Europe is still not clear.
How common is electric bike ride sharing around the world
Electric-bike sharing services are not a new thing. They are already quite popular in Asia and Europe and have just recently entered the US as well. Jump has been around for over seven years now, and Chinese LimeBike offers the people of Seattle and parts of the Bay Area cheap and easy rides with e-bikes too. A company named Spin also offers similar services in Miami and in two universities. Other companies are also planning to enter the market by the end of this year too.
What are some of the problems which e-bike ride-sharing companies are facing?
The only problem which e-bike sharing is still dealing with is the lack of a well-developed charging infrastructure. In Seattle for example, the LimeBike e-bike sharing service has employed 40 of its employees to travel throughout the city to swap low batteries.
Jump Bikes has been offering local businesses and even private homes the opportunity to act as charging stations of their e-bikes in return for always having one always available for any rides they need.
The company also provided incentives to its customers who choose to drop off the electric bikes at one of the several charging stations in the cities where it operates.
The problem with charging the electric bikes is the biggest setback which this type of service needs to deal with. And it sure is a big one, because electric bikes are heavier than regular ones, and if you stumble upon one which has a low battery you will have a rough time pedaling through the city on this heft bike with no power to assist you through the ride, especially when pedaling through the hills of San Francisco or other places where the ride can turn into a nightmare.
Other problems with e-bike sharing services are the higher cost of e-bikes in comparison to regular ones, as well as the problem with e-bike cycling infrastructure.
Electric bike ride-sharing is an intriguing and relatively new business, which as it seems – is here to stay due to the numerous benefits of e-bikes over traditional taxi, bus and shared ride services!