Seattle’s bike-share drought ends Monday as JUMP bikes return, one of the first rollouts since ownership of the service transferred from Uber to Lime.
Once the nation’s pioneer in dockless bike-share, Seattle has been without the service since May when Lime acquired JUMP and pulled bikes to integrate them with the mobility startup’s fleet.
Lime pulled its green bicycles from Seattle streets late last year when its operating permit expired. The company has been focusing on growing its scooter-share business in other cities. Seattle planned to launch a scooter-share pilot this spring but the program has been waylaid by the coronavirus crisis and bureaucratic delays.
The returning JUMP bikes will still rented through the Uber app in Seattle. Lime plans to add them to its app down the road. It costs $1 to unlock a JUMP bike and 36 cents per minute after that. The initial rollout will include about 500 e-bikes and grow based on demand, according to Lime.
“Bike-share is going to be critical to mobility in our city as COVID has reduced the capacity of our transit system,” said Jonathan Hopkins, who manages government affairs for Lime in the Pacific Northwest and Canada. “Over the coming weeks, we will continue to work with the City of Seattle to ensure bike-share is a critical part of our recovery and key part of our City’s efforts to create safer streets and reduce emissions.”
Lime says bike-share is safer than riding public transportation because COVID is more likely to be transferred from person-to-person than from surfaces, per CDC guidance. The company uses CDC-recommended products to sanitize bikes regularly and advises riders to wash their hands after trips.
Lime and Uber announced they would join forces in May as both companies suffered blows from the pandemic. Uber led a $170 million investment round in Lime and agreed to hand its JUMP bike-share business over to the micro-mobility upstart. The announcement came amid 3,700 layoffs at Uber, amounting to 14% of its global workforce.