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Uber to acquire bike-sharing company

Uber to acquire bike-sharing company

SAN FRANCISCO-Uber started a pilot program in San Francisco to allow its customers to reserve "pedal-assist" electric bicycles within its ride-hailing app in January. However, TechCrunch reported that an unnamed source valued the deal at "closer to $200 million".

It is now available in San Francisco and Washington, D.C. and plans to enter more key cities by the end of 2018, the company said on its website.

Dockless shared bikes are equipped with Global Positioning System trackers and allow you to park anywhere (in theory), and lock and unlock them by scanning an app on your smartphone.

Having a greater variety of transportation options helps make it increasingly easy to live life without a auto, especially in crowded cities.

Uber now has to contend with a few established competitors, like New York's Citi Bike program, which, according to Buzzfeed, saw its 50 millionth ride past year (Jump averages around 28k trips a month in places like San Francisco). About half of us states classify e-bikes as motor vehicles, requiring licensing, registration and even insurance, making them illegal to ride.

Jump is a "dockless" bike, which means users can leave them in any bike stand - as opposed to a branded stand - and they'll be disabled until the next user comes along to rent it.

The initiative dubbed Uber Rewards brings together corporates partnering with Uber to help driver-partners reduce costs and reward them for the time they dedicate to driving using the app.

So it came as little surprise when Uber announced on Monday it was acquiring Jump. Motivate, which operates a fleet of Ford GoBikes, has the exclusive right to operate a bike-sharing service in San Francisco. In successful models, such as the Citi Bikes that unveiled in New York City and Miami, docks were placed in key destinations across town, allowing residents and tourists to take the rentals from point A to point B.

"Rolling out potentially hundreds of bikeshare programs across the USA will require hundreds of millions of dollars in capital", said SOSV partner Brad Higgins, who was an early investor in Jump Bikes.

Uber, the biggest name in the growing gig economy, claims it is a mere service provider, connecting consumers with drivers in more than 600 cities.

Uber is side stepping this controversy with the purchase of Jump Bikes.

The case under review concerned Uber's use of unlicensed drivers as part of its UberPop intermediation service in France, which has since been suspended.

In terms of the operations, a minimal level of arrangement already exists between Uber and JUMP through Uber Bike within the Uber app where customers can book a bike the same way they hire a cab. The bikes are made in NY city while the service operates in San Francisco and Washington D.C with plans to launch in Sacramento, California and Providence, Rhode Island before the end of the year. The addition of a bike option in Uber's app raises the possibility that other transportation options, like subways and buses, will also be integrated into the ride-hail service's app down the line.

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