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Uber's e-bikes are cannibalizing rides from Uber's cars

Six months after jumping into the bikesharing game, Uber has made a fascinating discovery: New riders taking a spin o...

Posted: Jul 19, 2018 1:04 PM
Updated: Jul 19, 2018 1:04 PM

Six months after jumping into the bikesharing game, Uber has made a fascinating discovery: New riders taking a spin on its red Jump electric bikes in San Francisco are more likely to continue riding the bikes instead of hopping in one of its ubiquitous cars.

In other words, Uber is disrupting itself -- and the company says it couldn't be happier about it.

"This is having a positive impact on the things cities care about, notably congestion and reducing carbon," said Andrew Salzberg, who leads transportation policy and research at Uber. "Those [things] are exciting."

Uber isn't alone in feeling that way. Mobility advocates said Uber's findings show people will happily take two wheels instead of four if given the chance -- something the company hopes will lead cities to loosen restrictions on bikeshare fleets.

Uber started dabbling in e-bikes in February when it first allowed users to book rides on a Jump bike through its app. As of July 1, overall trips by new Jump riders on the Uber platform climbed 15%, even as their trips in cars and SUVs declined 10%.

The greatest shift away from cars occurred each weekday between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m., when traffic congestion is at its worst. Uber and Jump anticipated that, figuring that passengers would seek alternatives to slogging through gridlock in a car.

"This validated a lot of things we thought would be true and hoped would be true," Jump Bikes CEO Ryan Rzepecki said. "To see an increase in the overall engagement with the Uber platform was positive, and to tangibly see a mode shift happening."

Related: The case for bikes' inevitable triumph over cars

Uber, which acquired Jump in April, expects to see similar findings in the five other cities where it offers e-bikes. Many of those cities strictly limit how many bicycles bikeshare outfits can provide. Uber hopes those cities might ease their restrictions once they see how startups such as Jump can ease congestion and reduce pollution.

"People who are serious about moving people more efficiently and fighting congestion should be leaning into the idea of allowing modes like bikes and scooters to be prevalent," Salzberg said.

Transportation experts said Uber's data underscores the potential of electric bicycles to remake cities.

"There's this incredible opportunity to get us to choose smaller footprint, zero emission vehicles which are way better for cities, people's budgets and environmentally," said Robin Chase, who co-founded Zipcar and helps lead the World Resources Institute's new mobility efforts.

Related: Electric bikes emerge as a hot trend in the US

Uber isn't alone in embracing e-bikes. Its biggest rival, Lyft, purchased bikeshare startup Motivate this month, and plans to introduce more bikes and scooters. And then there are all the scooter-sharing outfits popping up lately. Bird and Lime have raised money faster than Uber and Lyft did in their early days.

Gabe Klein isn't terribly surprised by this. Klein, who co-founded the transportation consulting firm CityFi after leading the Chicago and Washington, D.C., transportation departments, said he recognized the transformative potential of Jump's electric bikes the first time he rode one. He has since bought two electric bicycles of his own.

"People are realizing vehicles can be much smaller and simpler and electric," Klein told CNNMoney. "You don't need a giant GMC Suburban for a trip under a mile."

More and more Uber riders seem inclined to agree.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 501652

Reported Deaths: 10024
CountyCasesDeaths
Harrison34353540
DeSoto32162408
Hinds31977631
Jackson24508383
Rankin22015390
Lee15596235
Madison14597280
Jones13867243
Forrest13461252
Lauderdale11998317
Lowndes11065188
Lamar10522136
Pearl River9547237
Lafayette8557140
Hancock7740127
Washington7443160
Oktibbeha7147133
Monroe6787178
Warren6706176
Pontotoc6677104
Neshoba6642206
Panola6542131
Marshall6476135
Bolivar6323150
Union605794
Pike5824152
Alcorn5676102
Lincoln5439135
George497479
Scott473098
Tippah470381
Prentiss469182
Leflore4663144
Itawamba4640105
Adams4592119
Tate4592111
Copiah448792
Simpson4448116
Yazoo444887
Wayne440072
Covington429094
Sunflower4240105
Marion4232108
Coahoma4168107
Leake408688
Newton381779
Grenada3711108
Stone360664
Tishomingo360092
Attala331789
Jasper330165
Winston314691
Clay308977
Chickasaw301067
Clarke292594
Calhoun279447
Holmes267987
Smith264150
Yalobusha234547
Tallahatchie228251
Greene219449
Walthall218764
Lawrence213140
Perry205956
Amite205256
Webster203046
Noxubee186840
Montgomery179657
Jefferson Davis172243
Carroll169338
Tunica160039
Benton149239
Kemper141941
Choctaw133326
Claiborne132837
Humphreys129638
Franklin120328
Quitman106528
Wilkinson105139
Jefferson94734
Sharkey64220
Issaquena1937
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 820312

Reported Deaths: 15407
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson1148731924
Mobile726221339
Madison52362697
Shelby37640350
Baldwin37266552
Tuscaloosa35120612
Montgomery34123740
Lee23540246
Calhoun22236488
Morgan20958378
Etowah19838500
Marshall18381304
Houston17394412
St. Clair16078339
Cullman15468293
Limestone15354199
Elmore15271286
Lauderdale14323295
Talladega13851283
DeKalb12664261
Walker11221370
Blount10207176
Autauga10048148
Jackson9877184
Coffee9211191
Dale8904185
Colbert8877201
Tallapoosa7093198
Escambia6778134
Covington6715183
Chilton6648162
Russell637559
Franklin5969105
Chambers5612142
Marion5010127
Dallas4979200
Pike4796106
Clarke475884
Geneva4575127
Winston4522103
Lawrence4327117
Bibb425386
Barbour357876
Marengo338390
Monroe331664
Randolph329864
Butler326796
Pickens316584
Henry312866
Hale311688
Cherokee302960
Fayette294180
Washington251651
Cleburne247760
Crenshaw245375
Clay243368
Macon234863
Lamar224847
Conecuh186353
Coosa180340
Lowndes175464
Wilcox168939
Bullock151744
Perry138940
Sumter133238
Greene126744
Choctaw88527
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