The acquisition of Jump, a U.S.-based e-bike company, by Uber in 2018 earmarked Uber’s entry into the bike-sharing business. The entry of Uber and addition of the bike-share option in Uber’s mobile app will lift the nascent bike-share industry that has been experimenting with dockless and electric options in the recent past. The acquisition has provided Uber access to Jump’s 12,000 dockless and location-enabled bikes, thereby allowing Uber to seamlessly roll out its service in Washington DC and cities throughout California.
In a continued push to expand its reach beyond conventional taxi rides, Uber recently announced plans to roll out its Jump bike rental service across different cities in Europe that are already flooded with several service providers including LimeBike, OBike, and Mobike among others. Following the bandwagon, Uber’s international competitors have made similar moves. For instance, India-based ride-hailing start-up, Ola has expanded into bicycles sharing service business, offering service to a few major university campuses in the country. Similarly, Grab and Didi launched their respective bike-sharing services in Southeast Asia and China respectively this year and have invested in bike-sharing startups like Ofo and OBike.
Uber’s plan to roll out bike sharing service across Europe, especially after it withdrew its taxi services from few European countries (ex- Bulgaria & Denmark) and the company’s announcement to introduce the Uber Green electric car service by the end of this year is seen as a strategic move to regain faith of customers in eco-friendly European countries. Uber’s strong financial condition and geographical footprint will help the company to scale its bike-sharing network even further and accomplish its mission to expand into new modes of transportation. With several ride-hailing companies expected to enter the bike-sharing business, the possibility of other transportation options (ex- buses and subways) integrated within a ride-hail service app remains high.