November 12, 2018 07:00 AM Uber report shows what its bicycles could do without Citi Bike monopoly

Report shows Jump Bikes' potential for 1 million daily rides if given free rein across New York

Less than a year after Uber acquired Brooklyn-based Jump Bikes, the ehail giant is giving a glimpse of the ambition it harbors for the pedal-assist e-bike operator. And—no surprise—it’s as big as all New York.

A report the company released Monday estimates that daily usage of its dockless bike share system could reach 1 million trips.

“Shared ebike potential: London and New York,” written by Boston-based consulting firm Steer Group, looks at how many trips currently made in cars, by foot or by mass transit would instead be made by ebikes “following a deployment at scale,” the report says.

That deployment, incidentally, would have to cover the affluent, densely populated neighborhoods in Manhattan and Brooklyn where Citi Bike has an exclusive contract. Or as the report estimates, hitting the 1 million mark would require between 100,000 and 200,000 ebikes spread across the five boroughs.

By comparison, Citi Bike, North America’s largest and busiest bike share system, deploys 12,000 bikes—9,000 are currently in use, as the company deals with mechanical issues—and rarely gets above 80,000 rides a day.

Citi Bike parent Motivate is owned by Uber’s arch rival Lyft.

The report—which also looks at how Jump would fare in the British capital—is mainly a thought experiment, but its timing is practical: Uber sees a way into Citi Bike's territory, and it runs through the L train shutdown.

Jump is currently taking part in the city’s dockless bike-share pilot, with 400 ebikes split between narrowly drawn service zones in the Bronx and on Staten Island. But the company has made no secret of its desire to help out the 225,000 daily commuters who will need a new way to get between Brooklyn and Manhattan starting in April.

“This is going to be a very significant disruption that needs very large-scale solutions,” Jump founder Ryan Rzepecki recently told Crain’s. “We’re able to contribute and be part of the solution.”

Though 1 million trips would represent a massive surge in bicycle use, the report points out that it would add up to just 4% of the city’s 26.4 million daily trips of all modes. (Bicycle usage in bike-friendly Amsterdam is 48%.)

About half a million of the switched trips would come from mass transit, about 300,000 from vehicles, and the rest would replace walking.

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