The ride-hailing firm debuted a fleet of 350 red e-bikes as part of a trial in the London borough of Islington, and says it plans to expand elsewhere in the city in the coming months.
The dockless bikes come equipped with baskets and phone mounts, as well as an electric pedal system that provides users assistance of up to 15 miles per hour.
Rides in London will cost £1 ($1.26), with an additional 12 pence being charged on every minute after the first five minutes.
Uber bought Jump last year, with an eye to expand its transportation offering beyond its core ride-hailing platform.
The company, which recently went public, has pitched itself to investors as a one-stop-shop for transportation, building a portfolio of different segments from e-bikes and scooters to food delivery.
“Over time, it’s our goal to help people replace their car with their phone by offering a range of mobility options — whether cars, bikes or public transport — all in the Uber app,” Jamie Heywood, Uber’s regional general manager for Northern and Eastern Europe, said in a statement Friday.
The move sees Uber enter a market that has already been flooded with a number of bike-sharing services. It’s already a part of London’s public transport system, with docked bikes sponsored by the Spanish bank Santanderdotted about the city.
And cyclists have increasingly been spotted riding dockless bikes from U.S.start-up Lime and Chinese firm Mobike. Such schemes have faced difficulty of late, with Mobike shrinking its operation zones and another Chinese firm, Ofo, pulling out of London entirely amid concerns it’s verging on bankruptcy.
Britain’s capital is a key market for Uber, home to 3.5 million of its users and about 45,000 of its drivers, but its presence there hasn’t been without controversy.
The ride-sharing company almost faced being shut out from London last year as the local regulator, Transport for London, refused to renew its license to operate. But it was eventually granted a new 15-month permit after making some changes to satisfy authorities’ concerns.
TfL, though not directly responsible for overseeing bike share operators in the city, does have a code of practice for such services.
Uber’s Jump had talks with TfL ahead of the launch and says its platform is compliant with the watchdog’s code of practice. The company said it’s a certified operator with CoMoUK, the accreditation body for car rentals and bike sharing.
Jump also provides a scooter-sharing service, but it’s unlikely the firm will get permission to launch e-scooters in London anytime soon. Britain’s laws prohibit them from being ridden on roads or pavements.
Elsewhere in Europe, the company sells both bike and scooter rides in Berlin, Lisbon, Paris and Brussels, while in Madrid it only offers scooter sharing.
Author: Ryan Browne