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Uber is set to launch its dockless electric bike and scooter services Tuesday, adding up to 2,000 bikes and 2,000 scooters to San Antonio’s swelling fleet of shareable vehicles.
Jump, Uber’s micro-mobility arm, applied for a dockless vehicle permit from the City in November. The company will be the first operator under the City’s six-month pilot program testing dockless vehicle regulations to offer e-bikes. The City of San Antonio has approved more than 12,000 bikes and scooters as part of the pilot program.
The additional bikes and scooters come at a time when the City is beginning to clamp down on e-scooter violations as sidewalks have become cluttered with more vehicles. To address sidewalk congestion and improperly parked vehicles, the City has begun testing dedicated scooter parking zones. One such area has been installed downtown on Alamo Street, between Commerce and Market streets.
Concerned residents also have complained about reckless scooterists and have spotted scooters dumped in water bodies, namely the San Antonio River. And the number of injuries in connection with scooters has drawn consternation from the local medical community.
But the rush into San Antonio’s micro-mobility market hasn’t stalled. Jump is the fifth company to begin dockless vehicle operations in the city after Bird, Blue Duck, Lime, and Razor. A sixth company, San Francisco-based Spin, is slated to bring 500 scooters to San Antonio “in the next few months,” a company spokeswoman said.
Uber’s main competition in the rideshare market, Lyft, is hiring a market manager in San Antonio for its bikes and scooters operation but has not applied for a permit, and a spokeswoman for the company declined to comment when reached earlier this month.
Like its competitors, Jump offers its shared electric vehicles for a $1 base fee and 15 cents for every minute of use.
The City has authorized Uber to operate 2,000 e-bikes and 2,000 e-scooters, but a spokeswoman for the company said Monday its initial fleet will comprise fewer vehicles than that. “Our team will monitor demand to help ensure Jump’s fleet size works for the City of San Antonio,” she said.
The Uber subsidiary offers its services via the Uber app as well as a Jump Bikes app available in the app store for iOS devices. Users can tap the mode switch option on the home screen of the Uber app to find a bike or scooter and unlock it.
Purchased in April by Uber, Jump’s e-bikes are available in cities such as New York, Denver, and Austin. Jump began rolling out its e-scooter fleet in Los Angeles and Austin earlier this year and has since expanded to Atlanta and San Diego. Jump has 500 bicycles and 1,500 scooters in the Texas capital, according to the City of Austin’s website.