Uber adds e-bike rentals to London transport app

Red Jump bicycle
BIKE HIRE: London residents can hire a Jump e-bike via the Uber app

Uber has launched a trial of its pedal-assisted electric bikes in London as part of its strategy to become an all-round transport app.

The scheme will initially offer 350 e-bikes for hire in the borough of Islington and is expected to be extended to other areas of the capital later this year.

It follows the acquisition by Uber of the US-based bike-hire firm Jump in April last year after the two companies first partnered to offer e-bikes in San Francisco in January 2018.

Jump e-bikes, which can travel at up to 15mph, can already be reserved and hired via the Uber app in cities such as Berlin, Germany, and Paris, France.

For the London trial, customers use the integrated GPS on the Uber App to select a bike close to them, which they can reserve through the app for five minutes while they walk to pick it up.

They then unlock it – either using a PIN they have been sent or by scanning a QR code on the bike – at a cost of £1 (US$1.27). Using the bike costs £0.12 (US$0.15) per minute, with the first five minutes free.

When they’ve finished, the rider secures the bike using the supplied lock. If they try to park outside of Islington they are warned on the app that they are out of range, and they are fined £10 if they leave it outside of the service area.

The London launch shows the increasing importance of a full mobility and transportation offer for Uber coming only a few weeks after it added real-time public transport information from Transport for London (TfL) to its app in early May.

The company launched similar transport information on its app for travellers in Denver, USA, in January.

In May, it extended this service to make Denver the first city in the world where travellers can use the Uber mobile app to buy tickets and use their phone for rail and bus services.

“We’re excited to bring Jump bikes to Islington, our first launch in London,” said Jump general manager EMEA Christian Freese.

“With our electric bikes, we hope to encourage more people to try an environmentally friendly way to get across the city.”