Get ready to welcome Uber’s new introduction in the field of commute, a jump scooter enabling you for quick jaunts across the city. JUMP, the company’s electric bike company acquired earlier this year, becomes one of the four companies to be granted permits in the streets of Santa Monica, California. After a relatively soft launch on Monday morning, Uber’s jump e-scooters are supposed to hit the streets starting today afternoon.
A total of 250 cherry red dockless, motorized electric scooters are joining the street with the 500 e-bikes launched recently in the adjacent city of Los Angeles. Users are also required to stay within the limits of the service area of Santa Monica and not venture out into the larger space of Los Angeles. This is Uber’s contribution to the micro mobility revolution pioneered by brands like Birds, a showcase of its commitment towards carfree transport and sustained mobility.
This is not a unique initiative by the car-rental giant as by the middle of September, Lyft had launched e-scooters in Santa Monica itself, after Denver, Colo. Scooters had first arrived unannounced towards the end of last year in San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Santa Monica. By now they have spread beyond the boundary of USA into Europe and the Middle East as well.
The scooters will be available in Uber’s mobile app only when you turn on the “bike and scooter” mode. Once that’s done, you’ll be able to spot the location of the nearest scooter and just as one had to with bikes, you have to scan the QR codes on the handlebar, unlock it and bam! You are ready to hop on it. You can literally park the scooter anywhere (don’t be silly enough to park it in the middle of the road though).
Uber, being aware of common scooter gripes, has designated parking zones which are not mandatory to be used. The prices are similar to the ones already existing, $1 for unlocking and 15 cents per minute once you have exceeded the first five minutes. Your payment information will be notified of your app.
In order to encourage this mode of commute, Uber has made all scooter rentals free until the 7th October for Santa Monica residents. Each user will be given five thirty-minutes trip each day. To enroll yourself to your first scooting, users are asked to upload a photo of their driving license. Also, at the end of each ride, it is necessary that the users click a picture of where you’ve parked the vehicle. It is on the employees, not on any contract workers, to collect the scooters at night, charge, repair and make them ready for the next morning.
Ninebot, the Beijing-based parent company of Segway, are the manufacturing minds behind Uber e-scooters, who are also selling scooters to Uber’s rival companies like Bird, Lyft, Lime, etc. Uber has branded these scooters with Jump for the sake of consistency in the company’s personal electric vehicle service.
The Uber e-scooter service is a part of Uber’s project of expanding its domain from rental cars to a mobility company. Rhea Dookeran, the company’s new scooter production manager, maintains that Uber is using Santa Monica as a testing ground for the company’s future expansion. It is, however, not yet known which cities will be next to welcome Uber’s scooter service but as it seems the company will lay their claim mostly in cities where permit has been granted to its rival companies.