It’s going to become even easier to share electric bikes in cities, starting with San Francisco. Social Bicycles has created a new stationless e-bike service, called JUMP Bikes, and San Francisco will be giving it a trial run over the next 18 months. This is the first time that the city’s Municipal Transportation Agency has handed out a permit to a stationless bike sharing service.
SFMTA gave Social Bicycles the permit on Tuesday, stating that they were the only provider to meet the requirements of the agency’s application. The initial program would install 250 e-bikes around San Francisco between now and March. Even more exciting? That number could double through the rest of the calendar year.
Full evaluation will take place until the summer of 2019, and should it be a success, they’ll be implementing other policies and regulations for long-term use. The SFMTA said that they will exclusively work with JUMP Bikes in this process and won’t be issuing any other stationless bike service permits.
“This decision was a result of a thorough review of JUMP’s permit application, extensive discussion with bike share industry peers, and consideration of San Francisco’s unique operating environment,” Ben Jose of the SFMTA said in a press release. “JUMP will operate exclusively electric bikes, which could complement the existing pedal-based Ford GoBike system by allowing users to make longer trips and climb steeper hills.”
JUMP Bikes provide flexibility with bike sharing, allowing people to place them in any bike racks or other designated station areas. Each bike sports a 250-watt electric motor and can reach a speed of 19 miles per hour. This provides a needed boost for areas that have steep hills and makes it easier to travel long distances.
All e-bikes have GPS installed on them and an integrated lock that keeps them protected after being in use. They can be unlocked with a smartphone app or a city’s transportation card. For example, Washington DC residents use a SmarTrip card to access the bikes. Their rates are $2 every 30 minutes, and their trial service runs until April 2018.
While the SMFTA won’t issue any more permits, they’ll still allow Motivate to release pedal-assisted electric Ford GoBikes when they roll out in April, according to TechCrunch. Two other e-bike sharing services, LimeBike and Spin, will be releasing their own options in Miami, Seattle, and other parts of San Francisco.
Bike sharing provides an easy way for people to commute downtown without the need of maintenance. It also eliminates cars from congesting the roads and they’re better for the environment. Expect this trend to rapidly move forward, especially in cities that are raising parking rates or eliminating street parking altogether.