Uber acquired a dockless-bike firm but has a hard ride ahead
The world’s biggest ride-hailer is confident that you’ll want to bike part of your journey to beat congestion. Some cities might not be quite so keen to let Uber be the firm to fill their streets with bicycles, though.
The news: Uber has acquired Jump Bikes, which rents out bright-red electric bicycles that can be picked up and left anywhere, to customers in Washington and San Francisco for $2 per 30 minutes. Uber hasn’t released details of the acquisition.
Why it happened: Uber says it’s “committed to bringing together multiple modes of transportation” so that its customers “can choose the fastest or most affordable way” to get around. Biking can definitely be faster than taking a car during rush hour. It’s also a good, eco-friendly PR move.
But: There’s a risk the service eats some of Uber’s shorter car journeys. It’s a crowded market, with competing firms and civic schemes already present in many towns. And some cities have been plagued with abandoned dockless bikes, which means officials may be wary of letting Uber flood the street with them—particularly given the firm’s track record at flouting rules.