STREAMING NOW: Watch Now

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: 331863

Reported Deaths: 7494
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto22855279
Hinds22625437
Harrison19462326
Rankin14765286
Jackson14233251
Madison10658227
Lee10398178
Jones8713169
Forrest8164157
Lauderdale7528243
Lowndes6761150
Lamar665988
Lafayette6446124
Washington5497139
Bolivar4907134
Pearl River4889149
Oktibbeha476898
Panola4719112
Marshall4648106
Warren4612125
Pontotoc438873
Monroe4243137
Union424379
Neshoba4179180
Lincoln4088115
Hancock402788
Leflore3562125
Pike3511111
Tate348988
Alcorn343174
Sunflower342293
Adams331987
Yazoo330573
Scott330175
Simpson313690
Copiah311467
Itawamba309580
Coahoma308285
Tippah298368
Prentiss292563
Covington280183
Marion278980
Leake277975
Wayne269942
Grenada265688
George259851
Newton256064
Tishomingo235769
Winston235084
Jasper225748
Attala220373
Chickasaw215960
Stone209137
Holmes194974
Clay191554
Tallahatchie181542
Clarke181480
Calhoun177332
Smith175334
Yalobusha169240
Walthall140448
Lawrence137026
Greene134934
Amite131843
Noxubee131135
Perry130838
Montgomery130644
Carroll124531
Webster116732
Jefferson Davis112934
Tunica110827
Benton104425
Claiborne104231
Kemper100329
Humphreys99033
Franklin85923
Quitman83519
Choctaw80919
Wilkinson73232
Jefferson69028
Sharkey51518
Issaquena1696
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 565510

Reported Deaths: 11468
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson828061584
Mobile44938853
Madison36534532
Tuscaloosa26589465
Shelby26409255
Montgomery25598623
Baldwin23319324
Lee16691179
Calhoun15030332
Morgan14877288
Etowah14563368
Marshall12723235
Houston11302292
Elmore10576217
St. Clair10449251
Limestone10420158
Cullman10198204
Lauderdale9883253
DeKalb9226191
Talladega8705187
Walker7545286
Autauga7388113
Jackson7216117
Blount7147139
Colbert6522142
Coffee5962131
Dale5224117
Russell463942
Chilton4603117
Covington4502125
Franklin439781
Tallapoosa4343156
Escambia414782
Chambers3813124
Dallas3674163
Clarke361562
Marion3354106
Pike323179
Lawrence3176101
Winston289672
Bibb276165
Geneva267383
Marengo257367
Barbour241860
Pickens238862
Butler233571
Hale230578
Fayette223863
Henry203345
Cherokee192347
Randolph192244
Monroe190241
Washington174539
Macon167252
Crenshaw163457
Clay161859
Cleburne158445
Lamar149138
Lowndes143854
Wilcox128431
Bullock125342
Conecuh117730
Coosa115229
Perry109628
Sumter107532
Greene95935
Choctaw63125
Out of AL00
Unassigned00
Tupelo
Partly Cloudy
86° wxIcon
Hi: 90° Lo: 74°
Feels Like: 95°
Columbus
Partly Cloudy
79° wxIcon
Hi: 91° Lo: 72°
Feels Like: 84°
Oxford
Partly Cloudy
82° wxIcon
Hi: 88° Lo: 72°
Feels Like: 87°
Starkville
Partly Cloudy
82° wxIcon
Hi: 90° Lo: 72°
Feels Like: 88°
Isolated to scattered showers and thunderstorms will continue to be the rule for our Saturday and Sunday. Otherwise, we will see high temperatures reaching well into the 90s for highs and heat index values between 100 to 115 during the afternoon hours.
WTVA Radar
WTVA Temperatures
WTVA Severe Weather