Technology

Uber’s bikesharing service is eating into its regular business



When Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi noticed how bikesharing schemes were gaining in popularity, he wanted a piece of the action.

The company started by partnering with Jump in San Francisco at the beginning of 2018 before acquiring the startup a few months later in April.

The tie-up meant Uber riders could find available electric bikes via the Uber app, offering users the opportunity of “a convenient, environmentally friendly ride even in dense cities where space is limited and roads can be congested,” as the company described it.

It turns out the bikesharing service is proving so popular with Uber riders that it’s causing them to take fewer car journeys with the ridesharing company.

Jump CEO Ryan Rzepecki revealed the interesting tidbit in a blog post published over the weekend. He explained how Jump’s service has been playing a key role in bringing about changes in transportation habits as it seeks to improve reliability, affordability, and convenience for riders looking for ways to get across town.

Rzepecki said that more than 63,000 Jump riders have taken around 625,000 bike trips in San Francisco since it launched in early 2018. That’s a lot, especially when you consider that for the first nine months it only had 250 bikes available for rent.

Just three months after Uber acquired Jump, the effect of Jump’s integration on Uber’s ridesharing started to become apparent.

“Data showed Jump rides beginning to replace Uber trips, with car trips decreasing by 10 percent while overall trip frequency of Jump + Uber increased by 15 percent after riders’ first Jump ride,” Rzepecki said, adding, “This entire increase can be attributed to the use of e-bikes.”

The CEO said that since the results of the study were released back in July, those trends have remained consistent. He also noted that Uber trips during peak periods decreased even more for Uber users who started using Jump on the Uber app. This can likely be put down to folks jumping on two-wheelers to whizz past motor vehicles stuck in traffic.

The news of Jump’s impact won’t worry Uber chief Dara Khosrowshahi. After all, he’s already said he’s working to transform the business into an “urban mobility platform” that embraces various types of vehicles and services, all tightly integrated. Khosrowshahi made it clear last summer how he wants Uber to focus more on ebikes — and escooters — over cars when it comes to short journeys in cities, telling the Financial Times that it’s “very inefficient for a one-ton hulk of metal to take one person 10 blocks,” especially in rush hour.

Ridesharing rival Lyft is also making similar moves to integrate its car-based services with bike and scooter rentals. Lyft says it sees its growing interest in bikesharing as a natural extension of its “vision to improve transportation access, sustainability and affordability,” adding that such services offer a variety of benefits, including improved personal health as well as journey times that beat walking and gridlocked traffic.

The company says it hopes its various transportation services will help to make cities cleaner and less congested by taking a million cars off the road by the end of 2019.


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