After Lime's Acquisition Of Jump, Those Red Electric Bikes Are Back On D.C. Streets About 150 red electric Jump bikes will be out on the streets of D.C. again starting Monday.
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NPR logo After Lime's Acquisition Of Jump, Those Red Electric Bikes Are Back On D.C. Streets

After Lime's Acquisition Of Jump, Those Red Electric Bikes Are Back On D.C. Streets

An advertisement for Jump Bikes, which was once owned by Uber, but is now owned by Lime. Jump Bikes return to the streets Monday. Jordan Pascale/WAMU hide caption

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Jordan Pascale/WAMU

About 150 red electric Jump bikes will be out on the streets of D.C. again starting Monday.

Lime acquired the fleet of e-bikes from Uber in early-May. Robert Gardner, Lime's director of government relations, tells DCist/WAMU that the bikes have been in storage ever since.

In May, it was reported that Uber trashed tens of thousand of Jump bikes.

Prior to the pandemic, Jump had 700 to 1,100 bikes on D.C. streets.

At one point, DDOT required a minimum of 500 bikes on the street, but that requirement was removed after the pandemic hit, Gardner said.

"What's inescapable is we are in the midst of pandemic and transportation patterns have shifted markedly," Gardner said. "There were an enormous amount of (dockless) bikes in 2017 and demand was incredibly high.

"Demand has changed... it's just not there right now."

The District Department of Transportation permitted 2,500 e-bikes from Jump. Lime may also soon bring back Jump scooters, Gardner said.

The branding will remain the same for now and rentals will still be done through the Uber app, until Lime can integrate their systems.

Pricing had yet to-be-determined as of Thursday. Lime does have a plan that allows people with low-income who qualify for state or federal assistance to use the bikes for free.

When Jump arrived in fall 2017, users paid $2 for the first 30 minutes and 7 cents for every minute after. That changed in April 2019 when the structure changed to 15 cents a minute.

Jump bikes were the only electric motor-boosted bike available in D.C. for a time.

For a few months in the fall of 2018, Capital Bikeshare deployed e-bikes in D.C. But a similar model caught fire in San Fransisco and they were quickly taken off of the streets. Last week, they finally made it back and CaBi says they could have 1,500 dockless e-bikes out on D.C. streets by the end of the year.

And Helbiz launched in January with 500 e-bikes. Back then, officials said they hoped to bring 2,000 to the District, but it's unclear if they met that goal after the coronavirus pandemic hit. None appeared on their app Sunday and it appeared they've been sparse over recent weeks, according to tweets.

Gardner says the electric bike marketplace has changed a lot in the past three years with many more people buying e-bikes as purchase prices come down. He predicts rentable scooter and bike pricing will also change in the coming months and years as micromobility companies grow from startups flush with venture capital cash into more sustainable companies.

"In the halcyon days of 2017 and 2018 (it was cheap) but the reality is if we want to have thousands of shared vehicles, the companies behind them are going to have to be sustainably run and managed.

"No one has figured it out yet."

This story originally appeared on DCist.

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