Uber’s JUMP launches their lock-to, slightly cheaper e-bikes in central Seattle

JUMP bikes staged downtown over the weekend. Unlike with Lime, JUMP bikes need to be locked to a rack or pole.

After months of delays getting the new bike share permit in place and through environmental review, Uber’s JUMP launched in Seattle this morning. They join Lime, which has had a temporary monopoly on bike share in town since early summer when Spin and ofo left.

The company is launching 300 bikes initially with plans to ramp up “over the coming weeks and months,” according to a press release (see the full release below). During this initial phase, the service area is limited to 65th Street in the north and McClellan Street in the south (basically, the north end of Green Lake to Mount Baker Station). But the service area will expand as they add more bikes, the company said.

JUMP’s red bikes are a bit different than Lime’s e-bikes. They have gears, for one. They also have a keypad and RFID reader for app-less unlocking. So, for example, you could tie your ORCA card to your JUMP account, letting you unlock their bikes with the same card you use to board transit (though you still need to set up a JUMP or Uber account and pay through the company). Both the JUMP and Uber apps should give you access to the bikes. As a promo, your first five trips up to 30 minutes are free every day through December 12.

JUMP’s initial service area, from their Seattle webpage.

But the biggest difference between Lime and JUMP is parking. JUMP bikes need to be locked to a bike rack or street sign (UPDATE: The JUMP website does say bikes need to be locked to something, but they rarely are and there is no obvious indication to users that they need to do so). When you unlock it, the metal u-shaped bar is released similar to a normal u-lock. There is a slot on the rear rack where you can stash the bar while riding. When you get to your destination, just insert the bar back into the lock to end your trip. This does mean it could be slightly harder to find a locking place, but it could also mean that the bikes are less likely to fall over and block sidewalks. It could also mean that bike parking for personal bikes will get a little more scarce unless the city works hard to increase the bike parking supply.

So there are pros and cons between the JUMP and Lime parking styles. It will be very interesting to see them in action and at scale to see which one people prefer.

I tested a JUMP bike back in June, and noted that in addition to having gears and feeling a bit heavier and more solid, the bikes were faster than Lime’s e-bikes. But Seattle’s permit rules require that shared e-bikes stop giving riders an assist beyond 15 mph, so Jump has had to scale their 20 mph bikes down to 15 to meet Seattle’s rules. Hey, we should do the same thing to cars in Seattle!

JUMP has also changed its pay structure. Where the company formerly charged $2 for 30 minutes, they will now charge $1 to unlock plus 10¢ a minute. Lime charges $1 + 15¢ per minute for their e-bikes and $1 + 5¢ per minute for pedal bikes. So there’s already some price competition at work.

Like Lime, JUMP also has a discounted ride plan called JUMP Boost for people who already qualify for housing, food, utility or transit assistance programs. This includes ORCA Lift. People who qualify will be able to get 60 minutes of ride time every day for $5/month. And like Lime, people without a credit card can pay in cash at PayNearMe locations, such as 7-Eleven and CVS. Just scan or take a photo of your program card or documentation and email it to support@jump.com with the subject line “Seattle Boost Documentation,” then wait for them to get back to you with approval and more details.

JUMP was formerly known as Social Bicycles, an early innovator in creating shared bikes that can be locked without a docking station. SoBi provided the tech for Portland’s Biketown system, which is operated by former Pronto Cycle Share operator Motivate. Lyft has since purchased Motivate, so Biketown is now operated by Lyft but uses bikes that share the tech and look of Uber’s bikes. Lyft has its own dockless bikes now and has applied for a Seattle permit. We have yet to hear any details about a Seattle launch, though.

Have you used a JUMP bike yet? Let us know your thoughts in comments below. Here’s the full JUMP press release:

Uber today announced the launch of dockless electric bike share service JUMP in Seattle. JUMP bikes are electric and provide a gentle boost with every pedal, making it easier for riders to get around their city without breaking a sweat. The bikes have integrated “lock to” technology and feature GPS intelligence. They can be unlocked by entering an account number on the user interface or by using a linked, compatible radio-frequency identification (RFID) card, like an ORCA card.

“Seattle has been a leader in dockless bike share, so we’re thrilled to bring our JUMP electric bikes as the first step towards offering Uber customers a multi-modal transportation platform in this great Northwest city,” said JUMP spokesperson Nelle Pierson. “Bike sharing is an environmentally friendly, affordable way to get around, and a mobility option we believe should be a permanent cornerstone of a city’s transportation system.”

JUMP will launch in Seattle with nearly 300 bikes then incrementally ramp up the number of bikes over the coming weeks and months. The initial service area will span from 65th in the North to South McLellan in the Rainier Valley. The service area will expand as the number of bikes increases.

JUMP Bikes in Seattle will cost $1 to unlock and 10 cents per minute to ride. As part of a launch promotion, JUMP is offering riders five free trips up to 30 minutes long each day through December 12. JUMP ambassadors will also be handing out more than 1,000 free helmets through Dec. 18 at 1191 2nd Ave. from 11 a.m. until 6 p.m. every day of the week except Tuesdays and Sundays.

JUMP also offers a Boost Plan for lower-income riders. Those who qualify for the Boost Plan receive 60 minutes of free ride time per day at a cost of $5 per month. Details on how to enroll in JUMP’s Seattle Boost plan can be found at https://jump.com/cities/seattle/boost-plan/.

In 2017, JUMP bikes launched the first ever dockless electric bike share system in the United States. Dockless bike share expands transportation options for residents by making it easier to rent and park a bike anywhere within the community, instead of at designated stations. This spring, Uber acquired JUMP as part of its mission to expand the menu of affordable, reliable transportation options available within the Uber app, and make it even easier for residents to get across town without relying on their own personal vehicle.

JUMP’s pedal assist bikes are available in Los Angeles, Santa Monica, Austin, Chicago, Denver, Staten Island and the Bronx, Providence, Sacramento, Santa Cruz, San Francisco, Santa Monica, CA, Washington, D.C. JUMP also has scooters available in Austin and Santa Monica.

How JUMP bikes work:

With both the Uber and JUMP mobile apps, users can find and unlock (and reserve up to 30 minutes in advance) JUMP pedal-assist e-bikes. It’s simple to use.

Via the Uber app:

  • Tap the “mode switch” on the homescreen of the Uber app, and select bike

  • You’ll see the available JUMP bikes around you, and can select one to reserve.

  • The app will give you a pin number so you can unlock your bike.

Via the JUMP app:

  • Download the JUMP Bikes app to create an account.

  • Use the in-app map to find and reserve bikes – or simply walk up to a bike and enter your account number and four-digit pin.

  • Want to make a quick stop without finding another bike afterwards? Press the “hold” button and lock the bike to a rack. Just enter your 4-digit PIN to unlock and continue your ride.

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28 Responses to Uber’s JUMP launches their lock-to, slightly cheaper e-bikes in central Seattle

  1. 47hasbegun says:

    Hopefully this’ll mean more bike racks in the city. Not holding my breath, though.

    • sb says:

      Someone posted a comment on a slog post saying he got this response from Joel Miller at SDOT:

      “Thanks for emailing. And yes, SDOT shares this concern. We will be using $400,000 of permitted fees collected from the bike share companies to install more bike racks and bike corrals citywide. Additionally, we’ve asked Uber/Jump and Lyft (when they launch) to not require users to lock the bikes to bike racks until we have installed a portion of the additional racks.”

      • Greg says:

        So how many racks will that fund? And where will they end up? And what’s the trigger for Jump bikes to start using racks? (What “portion”)

        I don’t see how this isn’t going to make riding your own bike impractical over much of the city. There are already areas where it’s easier (albeit more expensive) to park your car than your bike- how do 5000 Jump bikes that have to spend all their down time attached to racks not radically reduce bike parking availability further?

  2. sb says:

    I’m not too impressed with the app.

    I started to go through the registration process, selected the Seattle network, and then was shown a page with a Partner Plan and Single Ride plan listed. Both list an hourly rate of $6.00 and 30 free minutes per trip. What’s the difference with Partner Plan? Does it obligate me to something that the single ride option doesn’t? It lists an “Out of Hub” fee of $0.00. What’s out of hub? There’s no explanation on the page.

    In the Support area of the app I find a “Cost to join” section. Clicking on the Seattle link gives me a black page. There’s also a “Cost of rental” section but Seattle isn’t listed on that page.

  3. asdf2 says:

    My Uber app doesn’t show any “mode switch” button. Is there something I’m missing? Is this an iOS only feature (I’m on Android)?

    • sb says:

      Same, couldn’t find “mode switch” in the regular Uber app. Figured I’m just too old to figure it out or that it’s not in the Android version.

      • sb says:

        Also, since there (supposedly) is a “mode switch” option I thought maybe both services use the same account info, but one can’t log into Jump with their Uber login credentials.

      • sb says:

        Nevermind, they must have flipped some switch server side because now the “mode switch” appears in my Android app even though the app didn’t get updated today.

  4. mjd says:

    I saw about a half dozen of these while walking to lunch downtown today. Not a single one was locked to anything.

  5. ragged-robin says:

    (mechanical) disc brakes too!

  6. asdf2 says:

    I eventually figured out how to get my account set up (used the Jump app, not the Uber app). Haven’t tried actually renting a bike with it yet.

    With the respect to parking, the fact that you have to lock the bike to something has both advantages and disadvantages. It may reduce the number of bikes left haphazardly on the sidewalks, at least in parts of the city with ample bike racks. But, I’m concerned that when people are headed somewhere that doesn’t have bike racks, or when the bike racks are all full, parking a Jump bike may start to feel like parking a Car2Go, where you spend 20 minutes circling around from block to block, looking for available parking (while running up the trip meter), and eventually having to walk in half a mile from the nearest parking space. It feels inevitable that when people don’t see a bike rack by their destination, they’re going to lock up to whatever they can find – be it a fence, railing, tree, or utility pole. To some extent, the city can mitigate this by building more bike racks, but I’m not holding my breath for it to happen.

    There is another big difference worth mentioning between Jump bike parking and Lime bike parking, in that Jump appears to impose a strictly enforced service area, with a $25 fee for locking up outside the zone. Currently, the boundaries are very haphazard, covering about half the U-district, while excluding the portion the sections closest to the Burke-Gilman Trail, and also excluding the UW Link station, so no riding a Jump bike to catch a Link train, or to attend a Husky game. Hopefully, the service area can increase going forward, as there is a very real network effect, where each additional place you can go makes the system that much attractive.

  7. Pedro says:

    This is purely good news for Seattle. Seattle now has AMAZING, free floating bike share. Moreover, companies are competing against each other, so prices will stay lowish.

    In my opinion, non-ebike bike share failed b/c heavy, 3-speed bikes suck on steep hills. Ebikes fix that.

    Yeah, it will cause parking congestion for people who their own bikes. But more bikes on the street mean cars behave better and everybody is safer.

    Many challenges for Seattle cyclists, but bike share is a huge plus.

  8. Cam says:

    Great news that JUMP is coming to Seattle, I think they’re bikes look really nice and solid.

    I’m very disappointed about the 15 mph speed cap though. Yet another case of safety double standards for cyclists vs. motorists.

    Does anyone know who we can email to complain about the speed cap? Who administers Seattle’s cycle share scheme?

    • Cam says:

      I answered my own question with a little bit of googling:

      I encourage everyone to email Joel Miller (joel.miller@seattle.gov) if you think the 15 mph cap should be lifted!

      from http://www.seattle.gov/transportation/projects-and-programs/programs/bike-program/bike-share

    • Peri Hartman says:

      I think a 15mph cap is adequate. Given that the alertness of the rider might diminish if he isn’t working as hard to pedal, 15mph is a good limit from a safety point of view. Car doors, cars pulling out of driveways, wet leaves on a curve, pedestrians in unexpected places – all these situations magnify the chance of a severe injury or death when going fast.

      Certainly, I ride faster than that downhill or for modest stretches on the flat. But, unassisted, 15mph is a difficult speed to maintain long term. It’s reasonably fast for a bicycle.

    • Law Abider says:

      I’m very disappointed about the 15 mph speed cap though. Yet another case of safety double standards for cyclists vs. motorists.

      We already have enough illegal 20-30 mph motorbikes dangerously bombing down our trails. We don’t need to further flood our (formerly) safe trails with 20+ mph Uber branded motorbikes and we certainly don’t need to get rid of the 15 mph motorbike cap.

      In fact, barring the City coming to their senses and sustaining the existing ban on motorized vehicles on our multi-use facilities, I would advocate lowering it to 10 mph, similar to the typical top speed of the Lime motorbikes. There’s no legitimate reason for motorbikes to have an allowed speed above that.

      If you want to go faster than 10-15 mph and not put effort into it, take the bus or get a car. Leave our trails alone.

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  10. dave says:

    I tried one out yesterday, the first day they were available. I rode from the ID to Capitol Hill. I went up King Street to 12th, then up Jackson to 18th and into the neighborhood.

    The bike was really fast, even up the relatively steep hill up Jackson eastbound from Rainier. The faster I pedaled, the more boost I got.

    Bike felt very solid, and the brake levers are nice and big and easy to grip.

    I found the bike not locked to anything and so I left it not locked to anything, in the heart of a residential area like I would with a Limebike. I hadn’t read anything yet about needing to lock it to a rack. I agree with others that if we’re really required to lock them to a rack at some point, it would significantly diminish their utility and ability to penetrate into many neighborhoods.

  11. Al Dimond says:

    Not sure how Jump will do ultimately, but they managed to do something really impressive: do a worse job drawing a service area than Pronto did. Here I’m grading on the appropriate curve: Jump is not so constrained, financially or politically, and has more fortunate timing (UW Link is done, the SLU and downtown bike networks are less torn-up). They get all this area… and they serve:

    – A bunch of random hilly SFH blocks in the northeast, and freakin’ U Village, but not the UW Link Station, nor the stops for eastside buses near there. I understand that universities tend to underperform for bikeshare… but these are the two most fully-realized bike-to-transit situations in our region!
    – Upper Queen Anne but not SPU
    – Mount Baker Station but not the majority of its walk/bike-shed

    • Dave says:

      It’s as if the person who drew the Jump map hasn’t spent any time biking in Seattle.

      Also not sure bikeshare is underperforming at UW. I see a lot of lime e-bikes in constant use on campus.

  12. Tom One says:

    I did a short ride on a JUMP bike from King Street Station area up to Belltown. I think there is a very big difference in quality between Jump and Lime. I’ve done probably a dozen rides on Lime ebikes and found them to be consistently marginal, with wheels badly out of true, brakes dicey, floppy kickstands, weak batteries, or some other defect. The frame size is dinky and not great for anyone approaching 6 feet tall like me, even with seatpost fully raised. And they just have a generally cheap and disposable vibe.

    The Jump bike by contrast just felt much higher quality, not at all rattly and sketchy like the Lime bikes. Of course part of this might be that they’re all brand-new, but it seems clear that they just have a more stout and high-quality build that should hold up better over time. The fit is more generous for taller riders, and the e-assist plus three-speed internal gearing makes a big difference for practical travel. I rode up one super-steep little hill (from 1st to 2nd on Marion St. i think…) and actually found that was more difficult on Jump than it would’ve been on a Lime bike, but on any normal roads, e.g. on the 2nd Ave bike lanes, the Jump bike gearing and e-assist is far superior.

    The bike I used was not locked to anything when I started my ride, but I left it locked to a nice empty rack on 2nd Ave near Lenora. Good times : )

    I’m not a fan of Uber in general, but these Jump bikes look like a great addition to our Seattle transportation landscape. I really don’t like the junky high-volume Lime approach, so hope these Jump bikes take off. Now if they’d just expand their service area north to include all of Ballard and over to Wedgwood and Sand Point!

    • MA says:

      I agree with your Lime assessment, especially the wobbly wheels and soft brakes. Interesting observation on the hill performance. I’ve had problems with Lime on steep hills like the one you rode. I figured it had something to do with my 200+ weight, bike size (I’m 6’4″) and lack of gearing. I was hoping that the gearing options on the the Jump bike would improve that.

  13. Del Rey says:

    I just tried out a Jump bike. Compared to Lime E they handle better-the front end of a Lime E even without anything in the basket is unwieldy to turn. I found Lime goes up hill better, which surprised me. I liked the brake grip design and the brakes themselves worked well on a rainy day on slippery pavement.
    I think the rattles and loose bits on the Lime bikes are because they’ve been around longer and take a beating, not an intrinsic design issue. It makes me sad the way people vandalize and misuse such a great, cheap tool. I watched a guy beat the back lock off with a rock in broad daylight last weekend.

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  16. Slimmowens says:

    The 2 most crowded bike racks I use, Fred Meyer and QFC, both were clogged by unrented JUMP bikes. My carbon fiber, Trek road bike has no kickstand, JUMP does. They don’t need a bike rack.
    If Uber is so concerned about security, why not look at Uber drivers? That missing woman in Costa Rica was last seen leaving in an Uber.

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