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: 149940

Reported Deaths: 3779
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto10097104
Hinds9984199
Harrison7116110
Jackson6360119
Rankin5588103
Lee509195
Madison4799106
Forrest383186
Jones357688
Lauderdale3496147
Lafayette326051
Washington3179107
Lamar291550
Oktibbeha245462
Bolivar241384
Lowndes237364
Panola222350
Neshoba2206118
Marshall217250
Leflore205590
Pontotoc199928
Monroe198177
Sunflower191655
Lincoln190865
Warren176857
Tate169851
Union167325
Copiah164140
Pike162658
Yazoo156039
Scott154829
Itawamba152935
Pearl River152167
Alcorn151328
Coahoma150543
Simpson148353
Prentiss146230
Adams141950
Grenada140945
Leake134944
Holmes130861
George125524
Tippah125230
Covington123439
Winston122224
Hancock121139
Wayne117923
Marion116646
Attala113034
Tishomingo109442
Chickasaw107632
Newton105629
Tallahatchie97027
Clay91327
Clarke90553
Jasper82822
Stone77014
Walthall76928
Calhoun75513
Montgomery74525
Carroll72415
Lawrence71814
Smith71316
Yalobusha71327
Noxubee71017
Perry67026
Tunica61019
Greene60322
Claiborne58616
Jefferson Davis57017
Amite54014
Humphreys53619
Benton49318
Quitman4927
Webster44314
Kemper43618
Wilkinson39822
Jefferson35211
Franklin3395
Choctaw3357
Sharkey30917
Issaquena1164
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 244993

Reported Deaths: 3572
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson32314500
Mobile19859361
Madison13223148
Tuscaloosa13049154
Montgomery12342236
Shelby1031577
Baldwin873398
Lee775766
Morgan662650
Calhoun6301119
Etowah627666
Marshall627255
Houston525638
DeKalb485536
Cullman439442
Limestone425145
St. Clair419555
Lauderdale407854
Elmore406864
Walker3657111
Talladega351454
Jackson320423
Colbert311942
Blount292240
Autauga273542
Franklin252633
Coffee245415
Dale232654
Dallas226232
Chilton223438
Russell22193
Covington218934
Escambia198331
Chambers176850
Tallapoosa176391
Pike158614
Clarke158419
Marion140236
Winston133023
Lawrence127936
Pickens123518
Geneva12218
Marengo121524
Bibb117917
Barbour117310
Butler116541
Randolph102921
Cherokee102224
Hale97031
Clay91924
Fayette91616
Washington91219
Henry8546
Lowndes79929
Monroe78911
Cleburne77214
Macon73722
Crenshaw71130
Bullock69619
Perry6886
Conecuh68414
Lamar6798
Wilcox63518
Sumter58122
Greene42618
Choctaw42213
Coosa3444
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