Uber users around the world may soon be able to hire electric bicycles through the app, after the ride-sharing firm bought US bike-hire firm Jump.
Based in New York, Jump allows riders to rent electric-powered “pedal assist” bikes via an online platform.
Its bikes are also dockless and do not need to be returned to a specific place.
Uber, which already has a tie-up with Jump in San Francisco, said it would now look to “scale” the bikes globally.
Uber chief Dara Khosrowshahi said: “We’re committed to bringing together multiple modes of transportation within the Uber app – so that you can choose the fastest or most affordable way to get where you’re going, whether that’s in an Uber, on a bike, on the subway, or more.”
The bike-sharing market is growing at about 20% a year and is set to be worth between €3.6bn (£3.1bn) and €5.3bn by 2020.
David Bailey, a professor at Aston Business School, told the BBC: “Uber is looking at this partly because it is fast growth area but it is also looking forward to a time when we won’t own cars.
“Autonomous cars are coming and in big cities you won’t need to own a car in future. You might want to use an Uber taxi but then finish the journey on a bike. So it’s about offering multi-modal transport.”
Founded in 2008, Jump Bikes has launched conventional bike-sharing schemes in 40 cities across six countries, including in Brighton in the UK.
Its e-bikes, which were unveiled last year in Washington DC, cost $2 (£1.40) for the first half-hour, then 7 cents per minute.
The bikes are “pedal assist”, meaning their batteries only kick in when you are pedalling.
Users also locate and unlock the cycles with their smartphones and use a built-in lock to secure the bike to a rack at the end of their ride.
Bike-sharing company Jump and ride-hailing service Uber have more in common than you might think. Both join the dots in journeys between traditional lines of public transport.
Deploying a fleet of vehicles is one way to get a passenger from door-to-door. Owning a fleet of electric bicycles offers another. Both companies concentrate their efforts in cities, where governments are keenest to rid the roads of cars.
There are over a thousand different bike-sharing companies currently in operation across the world. The vast majority have yet to turn a profit. Most will fail.
The likes of Uber, however, are prepared to play the long-game. Scale and brand recognition are critical. They have both. Transport in cities is a winner-takes-all kind of business.
The Jump deal comes as Uber faces growing competition from competing ride-sharing operators in international markets.
Last week, Uber sold its South East Asian operations to regional rival Grab, retaining a 27.5% stake in Singapore-based firm.
It follows a similar deal in 2016 with China’s Didi Chuxing, which on Friday also said it would open in Mexico – the firm’s first launch outside Asia.
Didi said it would start off with a car service, but according to Reuters, it is also considering allowing users to hire motorcycles and bikes.
Here at Dollar Destruction, we endeavour to bring to you the latest, most important news from around the globe. We scan the web looking for the most valuable content and dish it right up for you! The content of this article was provided by the source referenced. Dollar Destruction does not endorse and is not responsible for or liable for any content, accuracy, quality, advertising, products or other materials on this page. As always, we encourage you to perform your own research!
Author BBC News