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Jump bike
Uber bikes plan to jump into Australia

Uber's distinctive red share bikes could soon be seen in cities across Australia and New Zealand. 

After purchasing the bike share company Jump Bikes in 2018, Uber has already rolled out their distinctive red e-bikes and electric scooters across the US, in six European cities including Paris, Berlin and Lisbon, and recently announced a launch in London.

It is now clear that Australia and New Zealand are next on the list. 

Jump General Manager Henry Greenacre told The Australian Financial Review National Infrastructure Summit earlier this month that Jump will appear first in trials starting in Wellington, New Zealand, before looking at Australian cities to trial.

Greenacre also discussed how a cities adoption of the share bikes and scooters was dependent on the weather and their road infrastructure, stating that adoption in Brisbane was expected to be “really fast” because the city had wide footpaths, good road rules for cyclists and a lot of sunshine, and “somewhere like Melbourne will be a bit more different.”

But of course we all know it isn't just about sunshine and footpaths.

Greenacre also mentioned that the Australian governments have been world-leading in introducing specific ride-share regulations, referencing the "good regulatory environment" as a big part of Uber’s decision to trial its new Uber Air service in Melbourne.

He was also keen to point out how Jump differed from Singapore's failed o-bike sharing scheme, which were pulled out of Melbourne and Sydney after being dumped rivers and stuck up trees.

"It's a much smarter piece of hardware," Greenarce said, with Uber spending huge amounts of money on tracking the Jump bikes with GPS, making it in the company's best interest to look after them.

Jump continues to promise to work closely with governments to cap the number of scooters that were put on streets. “This isn’t carpet bombing the city with units,” says Greenarce.

In fact, technology was a key driver in a phased and measured expansion of the scheme, which has been designed to respond to community demand.

Bicycle Network has long been as supporter of bike share schemes. We believe that public bikes are key to creating bike friendly communities that promote bike riding as a viable alternative to driving and public transport. 

The growth of smart cities

The growth of ride-sharing is part of an overall push to develop so called "smart cities", which are better connected and use cleverly collected data to improve city services.

The City of Prospect in Adelaide is one council embracing this innovative approach, utilise data science students from Adelaide University to interpret data collected from over 100 sensors installed in carparks, foothpaths and parks across five local council areas.

Daniel Adams, economic development co-ordinator at the City of Prospect says "we are seeking to make decisions around maintenance and new projects based on data, rather than surveys or guess work."

Mr Adams says that in an ideal world the council could know when there is a pot hole in the road rather than a resident having to phone it in, and could be alerted by sensors when there had been significant rain which impacts traffic or maintenance requirements.

Let's see if Uber can live up to their promises to help build more efficient and safer cities – after recently joining the fight against dooring.

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