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NYC E-Bike Competition Rises as Uber Cycles Lower Prices

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Uber’s Jump Bikes, the Brooklyn-based pioneer of pedal-assist e-bikes, is cutting its prices by trying out $20 a month subscriptions. Photo Credit: Uber

Uber’s Jump Bikes, the Brooklyn-based pioneer of pedal-assist e-bikes, is cutting its prices by trying out $20 a month subscriptions.

“We believe e-bikes should be available, and affordable, for every New Yorker no matter if they live in the South Bronx or SoHo,” an Uber spokesman said in an interview with Crain’s New York Business. “A subscription model, with no hidden fees, will make it easier for people to leave their car at home, and we hope the Department of Transportation will allow more New Yorkers to take advantage of the service by expanding access to Jump bikes.”

JUMP was founded as Social Bicycles and has been creating the hardware and software behind some of the greatest innovations in bike share since 2010. In 2018, the company first partnered with and was acquired soon-after by Uber Technologies Inc. its current price is $2 for a 30-minute ride – good for an hour a day – after which the price jumps to 7cs per minute.

Competitor Citi Bike said in February that it plans to increase its fleet of pedal-assist bicycles from 200 to 4,000, as well as slap on a $2 charge. A 30-minute ride on a pedal-assist electric Citi Bike now costs a non-subscriber $5. Starting April 27, subscribers will add the charge to their annual $169 payment.

Citi Bike is the nation’s largest bike share program, with 12,000 bikes and 750 stations across Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens and Jersey City. It was designed for quick trips with convenience in mind, and provides a fun and affordable way to get around town.

Riders will pay Citibike a surcharge for an e-bike: $2 per ride, whether they are single-trip riders or annual members, who pay $169 for unlimited rides. “Residents of New York public housing and those receiving SNAP benefits, who pay $60 per year for a discounted membership, will pay 50 cents per e-bike ride,” noted nextcity.org. The fee won’t apply if the only available bike in a given dock is electric; it will also be waived for riders who park at stations near the L train, during that line’s reduced service hours.

Needless to say, voices and objections are being raised. “As the debate over legalizing e-bikes and e-scooters intensifies between New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and the City Council, the Department of Transportation is leaning into one new initiative,” said cityandstateny.com. “Its pilot of dockless bikes – including pedal-assist e-bikes – was extended for another three months after rolling out last July. The program – which includes operators Lime, JUMP and Motivate – is, in part, an attempt to serve parts of the city not already reached by Citi Bike at a lower cost of capital by using bikes without docking stations.”

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