Good news for scooter lovers.
Uber, which operates the electric-bike-share service known as Jump, is introducing electric scooters in the District ― most likely adding a few hundred more scooters to a city where a handful of other companies already provide the service.
With the addition of scooters, Uber changed the usage fees for its popular Jump e-bikes, essentially replacing it with a pricing structure that applies to both scooters and bikes. Riders now can unlock the bikes and scooters for free and pay 15 cents per minute.
The cost to rent the Jump scooter is more competitive than other scooter services in the region, including Lyft, Bird, Lime, Spin and Skip. All of those companies charge $1 to start a trip and charge a fee that ranges from 15 cents to 29 cents per minute, depending on the company.
But for the loyal Jump e-bike users, the new pricing structure may not be such a sweet deal. Under the old pricing, users paid $2 for the first 30 minutes, then $0.07 per minute after that. Anyone who timed their trip to last 30 minutes would now pay $4.50 a trip — more than double what they used to pay.
Uber officials say the new price structure, however, will benefit riders who make short trips, noting that while the minimum fare was $2 (up to 30 minutes), now the minimum is $0.15 for a minute ride. To save or break even at $2, a rider would need to complete a trip in less than 13 minutes.
That’s unlikely, many Jump users say. They say they embraced the Jump e-bikes because they provide that extra power to go on longer trips, and helped them replace commutes via car, Metro or bus.
Jump brought its e-bikes to the city in fall 2017 and almost immediately became one of the most popular private bike-share services. Uber acquired Jump a year ago.
By essentially doubling the price of Jump bike trips, some users say, Uber may see declines in the usage of its bike fleet just as the company faces questions about the safety of its bikes. The company acknowledged Monday that it had modified some of its e-bikes recently after the company encountered a braking problem similar to the one that prompted rival Lyft to pull its own electric bikes in several cities over the weekend.
But for regular Jump riders, the new pricing structure, announced a day before it was introduced, caught them by surprise. At $2 per 30-minute ride, some said, Jump was comparable to using Capital Bikeshare, the region’s subsidized bike system that offers conventional bike rides for $2 per 30-minute trip. Or taking the bus, which costs $2 a trip.
“I’d rather that you not increase the price of Jump bikes, a service I have enjoyed and relied on,” Tucker Cholvin tweeted to Uber last week.