Private capital not a reliable "partner" in sustainable mobility when it comes to affordability
When the Jump dockless e-bike program was introduced, in DC and a handful of other cities, comparatively speaking it was a good deal, $2 for 30 minutes, with a per minute charge after 30 minutes.
Last year the firm was purchased by Uber.
This past week they introduced new pricing, which varies by market ("Uber says it's raising prices on its dockless e-bike fleet in several US cities," Business Insider). From the article:
"We want to build a viable e-bike and e-scooter operation that allows us to serve riders for years to come," an Uber representative said in an emailed statement.In Providence, where the rate is now 30¢/minute, that 30 minute ride now costs $9. The LA prices is also 30¢/minute. In Denver, 25¢/minute. To find the rate by city, you need the app, which I don't have.
"To support that we have introduced new pricing in our cities that brings us in line with the market so we can continue to deliver clean and reliable bikes and scooters with a sustainable business model."
That pricing probably makes it not sustainable from the standpoint of a user, although they do have a $5/month rate for low income users. Otherwise, these prices are higher cost than bus rides, but faster, and comparable or more expensive than subway and light rail trips.
This shouldn't be a surprise. If providing bikes or transit or taxi service was super profitable, then cities or people with limited job prospects wouldn't be doing it.
I think it's important to have bike sharing, even the option of scooters, and definitely transit. I'm just not expecting that venture capital will be in it for the long term.
cf. Ofo ("Bike-sharing firm Ofo's dramatic fall from grace a warning to China's tech industry," South China Morning Post) and Mobike ("The rise and fall of China's cycling empires," Foreign Policy).
... I have an Ofo bike in my garage if you want it.
2. And besides adding e-bikes to traditional bike share programs, it would be awesome if the US had a similar program of payroll deductions for buying bikes for transportational uses, comparable to the UK.
This is important, because unlike how scooters and ride hailing and pedal bike share mostly merely capture trips that likely would have been made by transit, e-bikes do have the potential to shift trips from cars ("E-Bikes Mean Fewer Car Trips and More People on Bikes," Bicycling Magazine
Although such requires massive market development. But employer transportation demand management programs providing purchase supports could begin to change the equation.