Look Ma, no hands!
Uber is coasting in a new direction, and the breeze feels eco-friendly and fresh. Why? The ride-sharing giant just acquired Jump, the bike-sharing company.
Currently, 40 cities in six countries use Jump’s 12,000 or so bright red bikes. In a recent pilot program, the Uber app added a “bike” option where riders were charged $2 for 30 minutes and then a per-minute fee after that per ride. The results must have been lucrative, as the deal is now done for $200 million.
This will be the first big move from Uber’s new Chief Executive, Dara Khosrowshahi. However, is it a shift away from its ride-sharing roots? Most speculate, no. This is simply a move toward being the biggest player in the urban transportation market with Khosrowshahi claiming it is as a “perfect fit.”
This deal makes mindful toes wiggle as it’s a step toward lessening exhaust and noise pollution and nurturing our nation’s health, while bringing the opportunity for connection to our intersections—it’s hard to wish a stranger, “Good Morning” between car windows.
Yet, the ride to the top is a steep climb. Uber must rebound from some serious backlash from last month. We are still in shock over the death of the Arizona pedestrian that was hit by a self-driving Uber car. Also, the rage over Uber drivers’ low pay still looms. The recent stats still confirm that 74 percent of drivers make less than minimum wage, with women receiving less than men.
After looking at these different aspects of the Uber story, let’s take a step back. This company has heard its customers complaints. It is their job to decide whether to shift into a better gear or get out of the race.
This deal will make urban cycling as transportation easy and efficient. Whether the company’s tires are deflated on the auto side of the business or not, this change could be great for all of us. For now I throw my hands up, for it may be a joy ride.
“Nothing compares to the simple pleasure of riding a bike” ~ John F. Kennedy
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