It’s been just a few months since Uber partnered with ebike company Jump to begin a bike-sharing pilot program in San Francisco. Apparently, those last few months have gone well enough for Uber to put the pedal to the metal and officially acquire Jump, and by extension, bring the bike-sharing option to more cities the world over. In a blog post this morning penned by CEO Dara Khosrowshahi, the company confirmed that it had “entered into an agreement to acquire Jump Bikes, an electric, dockless bike-sharing service.” He added, “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.”
Uber has not confirmed how much it paid for the startup, but TechCrunch previously reported that the startup was considering an acquisition offer of more than $100 million. And given that Uber is having trouble expanding its traditional ridesharing services into other markets (it’s on thin ice in Egypt and has recently been suspended in Greece), the San Francisco-based transportation giant is clearly looking for other avenues by which to reach customers.
In an interview with The New York Times, Khosrowshahi noted that Jump was a “perfect fit” for Uber’s goal of expanding its business. UberEats, for example, is quickly growing, and may benefit from a fleet of ebikes, and Uber is also looking into other ways of providing transportation options that are not only time efficient, but energy efficient as well (particularly in large, traffic-ridden cities).
Given the popularity of the Jumppilot, Uber seems to have little doubt that the notion of an ebike sharing option is one that customers will want. “The utilization of the bikes has been higher than expected,” Khosrowshahi said. “People are using these bikes for multiple trips a day.”
In the pilot program, Uber gave users in California a “bike” option as part of its drop-down menu (which generally includes things like UberX, or uberPOOL). The bike option currently costs $2 for 30 minutes, and then a per-minute fee thereafter.
As a result of the acquisition, Jump employees will become part of the Uber team, but the company will still exist as an independent entity.
“At Uber, we’re focused on championing smart technology for smart cities,” Khosrowshahi wrote. “But our ultimate goal is one we share with cities around the world: Making it easier to live without owning a personal car. Achieving that goal ultimately means improving urban life by reducing congestion, pollution and the need for parking spaces.”
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