Uber is continuing its push to dominate the shared transport space, buying an electric bike-share service.
The company announced on Monday it had acquired Jump Bikes -- which only began operating in San Francisco in January this year -- for an undisclosed sum, reportedly around $100 million.
The move marks Uber’s first step into the increasingly popular bike-sharing space.
Uber CEO, Dara Khosrowshahi, said the move would help Uber in decreasing congestion.
“Today I’m excited to announce we’ve entered into an agreement to acquire Jump Bikes, an electric, dockless bike-sharing service we’ve already been testing in San Francisco,” he said.
“Our ultimate goal is one we share with cities around the world: making it easier to live without owning a personal car.
“Achieving that goal ultimately means improving urban life by reducing congestion, pollution and the need for parking spaces.”
After launching earlier this year, Jump has seen immediate success, with each of its 250 bikes in San Francisco averaging four trips of 4.2km each day in February.
The longer journeys which Jump bikes are being used for could be seen by Uber as business it is missing out on.
The service will now operate within Uber, allowing users to reserve one of the nearby bikes, before they are given a code to unlock it and begin riding.
The pedal-assisted electric bikes operate almost silently and can reach speeds of over 30km/h, allowing commuters to use the service for those longer journeys.
Jump CEO, Ryan Rzepecki said partnering with Uber would help the company to scale at a greater rate.
“We’re excited to begin our next chapter and to play a significant part in the transition of Uber to a multi-modal platform,” he said in a statement.
“Combining Jump’s track record of product innovation and city partnerships with Uber’s scale, operational excellence, and resources, will allow us to make a global impact faster than if we were to pursue our vision alone.
“Joining Uber presents us with the opportunity to realise our dreams faster and at a much larger scale.”
Critical to Jump’s early success has been regulatory support it received from the San Francisco Municipal Transport Agency (SFMTA), with the regulatory body awarding it the city’s first stationless bike-share permit in January.
Unlike many other bike-share services, Jump’s bikes use a ‘true-locking feature’, with an integrated U-bar that requires riders to lock bikes to existing bike racks.
This design feature minimises the ‘bike litter’ that has become synonymous with other bike-share services, as bikes are not able to be left dumped on the ground.
Although currently only operating in San Francisco and Washington D.C., Jump has stated it intends to expand operations domestically and overseas, with plans for Europe in 2019.
There was no indication as to whether Australia is on Jump’s radar.