A BICYCLE BUILT FOR MANY
Bike share programs offer riders convenience
Although the bike share industry in China is oversaturated, causing the bubble to burst and abandoned bikes to pile up, the market in the U.S. is expanding. Just 19% of U.S. Trendsetters said they’ve recently used a shared rental service such as a bike share, and with young people’s focus on eco-friendly function, there’s room for growth for new bike share programs.
Currently available in San Francisco and Washington, D.C., the JUMP bike share program provides riders with bikes that feature an integrated electric motor to give a boost during pedaling and a smart lock system that allows it to be docked to existing bike racks or things like benches and light poles, not the usual smart docking stations. Earlier this year, JUMP and Uber partnered to launch Uber Bike, allowing Uber users to book a JUMP bike through the rideshare app, and Uber acquired JUMP last month for an undisclosed amount. In addition to the bike share service, Uber wants to launch an aerial taxi service by 2020.
Amsterdam-based smart bike maker VanMoof is changing the bike share model by giving users access to a single bike rather than a fleet of shared bikes. The steep price of the brand’s smart bikes is a barrier to entry for interested consumers, but the upcoming VanMoof+ subscription model has riders buy the keys, not the bike. The access over ownership model, which companies like Rent the Runway have successfully built a business around, charges users a one-time key fee and a monthly fee. Subscribers receive VanMoof’s theft protection and unlimited maintenance on their bike at any of its stores. If they want to cancel their subscription, they can sell their key to a new subscriber.
Some communities are more bike-friendly than others, and VeoRide relies on college and university campuses to fall into the former category. Launched by two graduates of Purdue University on its campus with plans to expand to additional campuses, VeoRide is a dockless bike share program. Riders use the app to locate the nearest bike, unlocking it with a QR code to ride and then locking it back up—at any available bike rack, not a smart bike dock—at the end of their journey, when they’re charged for the amount of time the bike was unlocked. In alignment with the company’s value of sustainability, the bike’s headlights and taillights are solar powered.