- Uber will begin an electric bicycle rental program starting February 5.
- App users in San Francisco can reserve a bike right from their phones.
Starting on February 5, Uber users in San Francisco will have the chance to reserve an electric bicycle right in the Uber app. It's a trial program run in combination with the bike sharing company, Jump (previously known as Social Bicycles). The bicycles are electric assisted, so when you start pedaling, an electric motor kicks in that gives you an extra boost. This is perfect for the notoriously steep hills of San Francisco.
Neither Uber nor Jump will provide users with a helmet. Most bike sharing companies don't.
Reserving a bike is pretty simple, you pull up the Uber app and find one of the 250 available units nearest your location. From there you can either reserve it, or just show up and unlock the bike with your account number and pin.
The bicycles cost $2 for the first 30 minutes of use, then about $.07 per minute after that. When you're finished with the bike, you can lock it to any parking meter or bike rack, as long as it's within Jump's service area (and a legal bike-parking spot). If you park outside of Jump's service area, you'll be charged a $25 fee.
The bicycles won't be available to everyone at once-- to gain access you'll have to pre-register for this pilot program on Uber's website.
Bike sharing has taken off in China, and many European cities. It's not clear that the trend can take hold with the same strength in the U.S. but several start-ups, including Jump, are trying to make that happen. Jump competitors in the U.S. include: Lime Bike, Mobike, Motivate (the corporation behind Citi Bike kiosks), Spin and Zagster.