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Uber is jumping on the bike-sharing bandwagon

Uber is jumping on the bike-sharing bandwagon
[Photo: courtesy of Uber]

Uber is getting in on the latest sharing economy trend: bike sharing. The company is teaming up with Jump, an electric bike-sharing startup based out of New York. Together, the two are running a pilot in San Francisco that ostensibly tests the desire for this product.

Shared bikes, both pedal-assist and the good old leg-powered kind, are cropping up in cities all over the country. They often follow a path carved out of docked bike stations that are run by a company called Motivate—and branded under another name like Ford GoBike or Citi Bike. But the new trend is dock-less bikes: a system of on-demand bikes scattered around cities, left on sidewalks and unlocked through an app. The latter is what Uber is getting into through its new partnership.

Though a more consumer-focused approach to bike sharing, it comes with its own problems. Namely, these hoards of bikes can become a public nuisance.  China, which embraced bike sharing earlier than the United States, has developed a noticeable pileup of bikes on sidewalks. Already, similar things are happening in U.S. markets like Seattle, where a number of dock-less bike startups are already competing for riders.

Uber and Jump hope to avoid the pile-up issue by creating zones within which people are supposed to leave bikes when they’re finished using them. However, without penalties, it’s unclear that people will abide by these rules.

Read more: The Brewing Fight Over Who Controls The New Wave Of Dockless Bike Sharing

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