On Monday, Uber joined the Seattle dockless bike share game, with Jump-branded red ebikes. The initial service will feature 300 bikes in a limited service area, “then incrementally ramp up the number of bikes over the coming weeks and months,” according to a release.
The rollout service area is limited to central Seattle, Ballard, Fremont, the University District, Capitol Hill, and parts of the Central District. The bikes will cost $1.00 to unlock, and $0.10 per minute during the ride. A launch promotion gives each user five 30 rides for free through December 12. A $5 per month, unlimited ride subscription model will also be available for low-income riders.
Some riders have already ignored the somewhat arbitrary limits of the service area:
The ebikes have some notable differences from their Lime competitors. Jump bikes have to be locked to a pole or bike stand at the end of a trip.
The bikes’ activation and payment system is significantly different from Lime’s, and doesn’t require a smartphone. Lime’s system requires users to scan a QR code or key in a bike’s ID number on their smartphone. The phone then contacts Lime’s network and unlocks the bike.
Jump riders will only need to key in their account number, or scan an RFID, or “tap and go”, credit or debit card. Notably, ORCA also uses RFID technology, though Uber has not yet integrated ORCA debits with the Jump system. Uber PR representative Zoe Watson said that “Jump does hope to integrate [ORCA] payment in the future.”
Jump riders can find bikes through the Uber app, which now features Jump as one of the modes available in its trip planning function.
Uber is marketing the Jump bikes as part of a broader forthcoming push into new modes in the Seattle region:
“Seattle has been a leader in dockless bike share,” said JUMP spokesperson Nelle Pierson in the release. “We’re thrilled to bring our JUMP electric bikes as the first step towards offering Uber customers a multi-modal transportation platform.”