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Uber Acquiring Jump

Jump launch Director Mark Mirestsky at a Sunday Streets. Photo: Streetsblog/Rudick

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The deal hasn't officially closed, but in all likelihood it will soon be possible for the driver of an Uber car to park in a bike lane and endanger the rider of an Uber bikeReports came down in the tech press today that Uber is acquiring Jump.

The announcement wasn't a huge surprise--last week TechCrunch reported that Jump Mobility, purveyor of those bright-red, GPS-based, dockless, electric-assist rental bikes, might be sold to Uber for $100 million. And Uber started offering Jump bikes on its app last month as a pilot, so it was clear that something was in the works.

"This acquisition really makes sense for Uber, which is looking to build more into their platform for transportation," said Rikin Diwan, Jump's VP of Marketing, in a phone interview with Streetsblog. He added that it will allow Jump to expand globally and achieve the goal to "get more people on bikes."

"Uber’s purchase of Jump demonstrates that bike-share can be big business," wrote Chris Cassidy, spokesman for the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition, in an email to Streetsblog. Jump got its permit to start operating in San Francisco at the start of this year and showed strong trip and rental numbers shortly thereafter.

Diwan and Jump's 100 or so other employees will continue to operate under an independent subsidiary. "So pretty much business as usual," he said. "But we’re going to look at ways to integrate real smart."

It's ironic that Uber, the frequent nemesis of cyclists and street-safety advocates, is about to become a bike company. San Francisco Police data shows that a massively disproportionate share of traffic violations, including blocking and driving in bike lanes, are committed by Ubers and Lyfts. Data collected by volunteers showed similar results.

Advocates, including the SFBC, have tried to work with Uber to improve its safety record, but so far without much success. "Perhaps now that biking is officially part of the brand, Uber will finally make strides to improve safety on SF’s streets for people who bike," wrote Cassidy.

In 2016, guerrilla safety installed safe hit posts in the same location--and they were removed by the city
Familiar sight: an Uber blocking the bike lane on Valencia. Photo: Streetsblog/Rudick
An Uber blocking the bike lane on Valencia. Photo: Streetsblog/Rudick

"I think we can keep working with Uber to find ways for both platforms to support biking," said Rifkin, when asked about the Uber's poor track record on traffic violations and safety. "Uber is now in the biking business."

We'll see how that translates on the streets. But considering that Ford (a car company) sponsors the Bay Area's official bike share system, and now an online taxi-company is its main competition, it seems as if anything can happen in today's mobility business.

Or, as Streetsblog commenter John French quipped, it could also "play out like when GM bought the Key System."

What do you think about Uber acquiring Jump? Post below.

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