Uber has taken a initiative in a new pilot program. The company is piloting a new bike-sharing service in San Francisco alongside dockless bike-sharing startup Jump, according to a new report from New York Times. With Uber Bike, you can rent one of Jump's 250 bikes, charging $2 for the first 30 minutes used and an additional per-minute fee will be applied thereafter.
Earlier this month, Jump was granted a permit by the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, which made it the first company to operate a dockless bike-sharing program in the city. The new program and 250 bikes should launch in the city between new and March.
After the initial rollout, the SFMTA may allow the company to bring another 250 bikes after nine months of operation, depending on how the program is doing. The permit was issued for 18 months, in which SFMTA will be evaluating the program and how the public responses to it.
Uber's new pilot program will be made available initially to those that travel in areas of San Francisco because that's where Jump's electric bikes will become available. “We're always kind of searching for options to make transportation affordable and more accessible for people,” Andrew Salzberg, Uber's head of transportation policy, told TechCrunch. “It fits into this larger vision, we think, that there can be multiple modes of transportation that can be made available through the Uber app. There are lot of places where there are many trips that it's probably going to be quicker and cheaper to hop on a bike. Strategically, it makes a lot of sense for us as a business.”
While Uber is launching a new pilot program in the area, it certainly isn't the first. Ford previously launched a GoBike program in 2017 and will have a massive fleet of 7,000 bikes by the end of the year. With Ford's bikes though, they must be docked at a station, but with Jump's bikes, they can be left wherever it's legal to park a bike. Ford's fleet is also made up of traditional bikes, but by April if this year, it will have pedal-assist electric bikes available as well.
Uber has said that it's currently focusing only on the San Francisco area, but depending on how things go, it could be adopted more widely in the future. “You don't do a pilot if you don't have hopes to make it a vision for the future,” Salzberg told TechCrunch. The company is making a bet for the long term of course.