Ride-hailing services have been around for some time now with companies like Uber and Lyft exploding in popularity due to their convenience and low costs. However, it sounds like Uber isn't content to rest on their laurels.
Next week, the company will reportedly be launching their own dockless, electric "bike-sharing" service dubbed "Uber Bike." This may sound like a bit of a strange concept at first but it's not completely unheard of.
The company Uber is partnering with to make it happen, bike-sharing start-up Jump, has been operating successfully in several cities since mid-2017. Furthermore, Jump recently acquired the the first-ever permit to operate in San Francisco, being given permission to bring 250 electric bikes to the city (with more to come).
Uber's goal with this partnership lies in providing their users with greener, more affordable ways to get around town. "We’re always kind of searching for options to make transportation affordable and more accessible for people," Uber Head of Transportation Policy and Research Andrew Salzberg said in a statement to TechCrunch.
To use the service, users will simply need to book a nearby bike through the company's existing app. To unlock and use the bike, you'll have to walk to its location as there's no delivery system in place.
Salzberg says Uber will initially only be launching the service in San Francisco -- presumably to take advantage of Jump's existing permits -- but more cities could get Uber Bike down the line. "You don’t do a pilot if you don’t have hopes to make it a vision for the future," Salzberg explained.
Details about the service, such as specific pricing, are still somewhat scare but it's unlikely that Uber will change much about the way Jump is already handling it. Jump's fees are low, at $2 for 30 minutes of bike use, and bikes are dotted around the city for easy access.
Though unusual, it's easy to see the appeal of a service like this. If you're spending the day out on the town, simply hopping on a nearby Uber Bike could be considerably more convenient (not to mention more affordable) than attempting to navigate San Francisco's densely packed streets by car.