Recently you may have noticed an increase in cyclists riding around town on bright red e-bikes. That’s because Jump, a dockless e-bike share service that Uber bought last year has gained a ton of popularity since it’s debut last spring.
In fact, residents are using Jump’s electric bikes slightly more often that they are hailing Uber cars. According to a study done late in October, Jump rentals surpassed Uber trips by about 6 percent that month, at a rate of 53 percent versus 47 percent.
(Note: The study only applied to ridership in Jump’s service area, which covers the central part of the cities). Sacramento is the first city with both Jump and Uber where the bike share service has enjoyed a wider monthly use.
“We were honestly surprised,” Alex Hagelin, head of the Jump program in Sacramento said. “Uber has been around for years, and in just five months, our e-bikes were generating more trips. This is the first time we have seen this in any of our cities to date.”
While the study’s focus area was limited, its findings show that with the right amount of user density, enough people may go for e-bike share over cars to make the service competitive especially for short and mid-length trips.
Riders can access Jump through the Uber app, paying $1 for the first 15 minutes of riding and 7 cents per minute after that. The company has 1,000 e-bikes in Sacramento that serve 6,500 riders each day.
Jump operates in 17 U.S. cities, plus Berlin. It has also rolled out e-scooter sharing in nine of them, including Sacramento.
At the end of the study, both bike riding groups enjoyed significant improvements in executive function, which is the ability to plan, organize, and complete tasks.
Interestingly, though the researchers had anticipated the riders on the standard bikes would improve the most because they would be working harder and therefore getting more exercise, that wasn’t the case.
Not only did the e-bike riders score as well as the regular bike riders in the follow up cognitive tests, but also the motor-assisted pedalers performed a little better in processing speed and enjoyed a more improved sense of well-being than the other two groups.
“We had thought that those who used traditional, pedal-only powered bikes would have the greatest brain and mental health boost, as they would be giving their cardiovascular systems the biggest workout,” corresponding author Carien Van Reekum, Ph.D., professor of psychology at the University of Reading, said in a press release.
“Instead, people who used e-bikes said that they felt more confident in completing the requested activity of three 30-minute rides a week for eight weeks, compared to pedal bikers,” she said.
“The fact that the group was able to get outside on a bike, even without much physical exertion, is likely to make people feel mentally better.”
The e-bike riders also rode more than the others on standard bikes, pedaling more than 30 additional minutes each week. Researcher Tim Jones, Ph.D., from Oxford Brookes University, concluded that the e-bike riders benefited from feeling more confident.
“The e-bike enabled them to explore their local area and interact with people and the natural environment secure in the knowledge that they could rely on powered assisted support to get then home safely and stress-free,” Jones said.