Uber launches first electric scooter share, offers free rides in first week
Oct. 3rd 2018 Micah Toll
jump electric scooters
Electric scooter share programs continue to expand at a rapid pace across
the United States and the rest of the world. Uber, known for its
ride-hailing service, doesn’t want to miss the boat. Seeking its own piece
of the pie, Uber has just rolled out its Jump electric scooter share program
in Santa Monica.
Uber’s Jump electric scooters
Uber recently purchased Jump, a dockless electric bicycle sharing company,
in a deal reportedly worth over $100 million.
Jump bikes are available in 10 cities. Now Uber is leveraging Jump to add
electric scooter sharing to their portfolio of services, in addition to ride
hailing and electric bicycle sharing.
CEO Dara Khosrowshahi recently stated that the company expects electric
bicycles and scooters to become the future of urban transportation. He
believes that Uber believes it will offer just as many rides on electric
bicycles and scooters over the next decade as they do in cars.
Khosrowshahi told a crowd recently at Disrupt SF:
“We want to be the Amazon of transportation. And hopefully, 10 years
from now, no one in the audience is going to own a car.”
By rolling out their first electric scooters in Santa Monica, Uber’s Jump
electric scooters have begun the first steps towards joining other competing
electric scooter share companies, such as Lime and Bird.
Those companies have already been operating for around one year, and have
had a significant headstart compared to Uber.
In an attempt to cutting into competitors’ market share, Jump electric
scooters will be free to use until October 7th, according to TechCrunch.
Jump hopes that this will help it establish its electric scooters in a still
Jump’s electric scooters work very similarly to other companies. The
scooters are dockless, meaning they can be parked anywhere in the service
area. New riders simply scan them on their phone and start riding the
scooters. Rides cost $1 to begin and 15 cents per minute afterwards. Most
rides end up costing between $2-$4.
The same Uber app which is used to hail a rideshare is also used to located
and claim a Jump electric scooter.
According to the company:
“As we work towards having your phone replace your car, we’re thinking
about all the possible times you’d hop in the car and go, and what smart,
equally as convenient option we could offer to get you there instead.
Whether going that last mile home from the train, to your favorite nearby
restaurant, or between offices, scooters are an affordable, environmentally
friendly way to get there. We can’t wait to bring scooters to more cities
and help people conquer those short trips.”
The electric scooters have not been without their controversy. Many
pedestrians are upset with scooters being ridden on the sidewalk. With
scooters reaching speeds up to 18 mph (29 km/h), they can pose a serious
threat to pedestrians when riders weave in and out of crowds.
Most cities outlaw electric scooter riding on sidewalks, but this doesn’t
always deter the practice.
Additionally, scooters are often parked or strewn around sidewalks. This
results in tripping hazards to pedestrians and can create significant
obstacles for the handicapped.
Long Beach, for example, attempted to solve the problem by requiring
scooters to be left in designated “scooter parking zones” on sidewalks. Such
zones allow scooters to be parked in areas that don’t inhibit free passage
Santa Monica recently created a permit program which allowed Uber and Lyft
to operate in the city. Bird and Lime originally didn’t receive permits due
to their poor track record of respecting city regulations. However, after
the pair protested the decision, the city backtracked and allowed their
One of the conditions for Uber’s Jump electric scooters and others to
operate in Santa Monica is to educate riders on the proper way to park the
scooters in order to avoid inconveniencing the general public.
If Uber’s Jump electric scooters can join the scooter sharing market and
improve it, then that would be a great thing.
Don’t get me wrong, I like the electric scooters. They’re a great way to
introduce the public to personal electric transportation. In fact, after the
scooter share companies began operations, sales of electric scooters on
Amazon skyrocketed. Consumers have embraced the new form of transportation,
scooping up their own personal scooters for around $400.
However, companies like Bird and to a lesser extent Lime have definitely
been the bad boys of the industry. They enter new cities, drop hundreds of
cities on the street overnight, then basically say “You figure it out” to
If Uber and Lyft’s new scooter share programs can help clean up the industry
by bringing mature companies to the group, then perhaps they can help solve
some of the issues that have plagued the industry. The electric scooters are
a good thing for cities, so anything that can be done to help clean up their
image would be a boon for both urban transportation and electric vehicle
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electric scooters In fact, the ordinance creates a specific classification
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