Uber is launching its JUMP bike-share service today in Seattle, rolling out 300 electric-assist bicycles to begin.
The ride-sharing company will continue to ramp up the number of red JUMP bikes on Seattle streets in the coming weeks. Uber is betting it can compete with Lime, the only remaining dockless bike-share service in Seattle. Three bike-share companies launched in the area in 2017 as part of a pilot program, but only Lime chose to remain in the market when Seattle finalized its permanent permit fees.
On Monday, the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) announced plans to issue permanent dockless bike-share permits to three companies: Uber, Lime, and Lyft. The maximum number of bikes each vendor can deploy in Seattle is 6,666, which could amount to about 20,000 bikes if each company reaches the maximum.
Unlike Lime bikes, riders must lock JUMP bikes to a bike rack or post to complete their trips. Uber says the lock-to technology will help reduce sidewalk clutter and improperly parked bikes, but the locking mandate will not take effect immediately. Riders will not be required to lock JUMP bikes to anything until March 15, 2019, to give SDOT more time to build additional bike parking. Uber is offering riders five free 30-minute trips until Dec. 12 as a promotion tied to the Seattle launch.
Uber bought JUMP, then a New York-based startup, over the spring. The acquisition is part of Uber’s broader strategy to move beyond ride-hailing and into additional mobility services.