New bikeshare company JUMP launches in Seattle market
The bikeshare business continues to evolve in Seattle as yet another company — JUMP — is speeding into town with its own variety of electric, shareable bikes.
JUMP offers an entirely electric fleet of dockless bikes, similar to Lime’s electric models already available in Seattle. But its system is slightly different than Lime’s, and it could provide decent competition for Seattle’s only established bikeshare — especially since JUMP is backed by rideshare giant Uber.
“Once you get on the bike, you realize you are a superhero; the electric assist is really the beauty of this program,” said JUMP spokesperson Nelle Pierson.
“Seattle has been a leader in dockless bike share, so we’re thrilled to bring our JUMP electric bikes as the first step towards offering Uber customers a multi-modal transportation platform in this great Northwest city,”she said. “Bike sharing is an environmentally friendly, affordable way to get around, and a mobility option we believe should be a permanent cornerstone of a city’s transportation system.”
JUMP launched its bikeshare company in 2017. Uber acquired the company in spring of 2018. It has placed its electric-assisted bikes in 13 markets, including LA, New York, Chicago, Washington DC, Austin, and Sacramento. It is planning on launching in 80 more cities in 2019.
Seattle is its latest expansion effort with 300 bikes to start. More bikes will be added over time. Seattle allows operators to have up to 5,000 bikes on the street. The bikes will initially be available around the inner core of Seattle, covering areas such as downtown, First Hill, South Lake Union, Wallingford, Fremont, and Green Lake.
As it launches in Seattle, JUMP is also offering 1,000 free helmets to customers at 1191 2nd Avenue between 11 a.m. and 6 p.m. every day except Tuesdays and Sundays. Bike riders are required by law to use a helmet in King County.
How JUMP works
Jump bikes operate a bit differently than Lime’s system.
- JUMP bikes cost $1 to unlock and 10 cents per minute to ride (Lime cost $1 and then 15 cents per minute).
- Customers can use either the JUMP app or the Uber app on their smartphone to find a bike and unlock it.
- JUMP customers can reserve a bike, and even hold a parked bike while making a quick stop by pressing a “hold” button.
- The app will give the customer a pin number that they will type into a panel on the bike to unlock it.
- The bikes may also be compatible with ORCA cards, or any RFID card.
- There are plans for low-income customers.
JUMP bikes also have another major difference from other dockless bikeshares. Its bikes are designed to be locked to fixed objects, such as bike racks and poles. But JUMP customers won’t be required to lock their bikes up until March 15, 2019.
“Requiring users to lock the bikes to something means they are out of he way, they are not in the curb ramps, they are not tipped over,” Pierson said. “You can just physically insert the lock into the bike, without physically locking it to something.”
Charging stations coming to Seattle
It was previously rumored that JUMP wanted to come to Seattle in early 2018. At that time, it was inquiring about building a system of charging stations around the city, possibly by tapping into power from light poles. Stations could charge 4-5 bikes, or even up to 15 bikes. The company proposed to install a handful of test stations in Seattle — one at Pier 69 on Alaskan Way, and a few along the Second Avenue protected bike lane.
Pierson said that the company is looking into building bike racks around Seattle, similar to what it does in Sacramento.
“We are working with the city and local businesses to install chargers, which are helpful because they will be incentivized hubs for residents to drop bikes,” Pierson said. “It’s great because it becomes a reliable option. If I live near a charger I know there is likely gong to be a bike there.”
Lime, on the other hand, sends teams around Seattle that replace batteries on its electric bikes.
Jump and Seattle bikeshare
Seattle began its current era of bikeshare in July of 2017 with three companies ultimately competing to be the top bikeshare in town.
Lime eventually won this race. Spin and ofo dropped out of the Seattle market in 2018, shortly after the city updated its bikeshare regulations which included a much higher bikeshare operating fee. Spin cited that high fee as a main reason it rolled out of town. Seattle is also not allowing scooters in the city yet, which is a part of Spin’s business plan.
Lime also offers scooters, but has yet to get them into Seattle. It has launched them in Portland and Tacoma. Lime is also building on its success in Seattle by offering a carshare, too. It will provide Fiats for rent similar to a Car2go or ReachNow model.
JUMP also offers scooters. There is no word yet on if it aims to bring them to Seattle.