Bike share is returning to the streets of Melbourne, this time with the pedals pushed by three inner city municipalities who see bike share systems as part of the strategy to better connect communities while decarbonising transport.
The key feature of the new system is that all the bikes are e-bikes, opening up the system to a much wider market of potential users—people who don’t see themselves as regular bike riders, but who can see the advantage of grabbing one for a quick, convenient trip.
Convenience is the other feature of this new system: the bikes don’t require docking, relying on GPS technology and geolocation.
The new system is being backed by the cities of Melbourne, Port Phillip and Yarra.
The system is from JUMP Bikes, which is now a part of Uber. The social enterprise, Good Cycles is the servicing and maintenance partner.
The bikes will be accessed via the Uber app. This will be largely frictionless for users, and should enable quick comparisons of journey time and cost with other modes.
The scheme is expected to launch in March and gradually increase in scale to perhaps 1500 bikes during the one-year trial period.
Bicycle Network will report later on the user experience of the system, and the bike itself, but reports from 30 cities elsewhere in the world have been positive.
A detailed Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) among the parties specifies is many details of the system’s operations, clearly a response to the negative consequences of the roll-out of previous, never officially authorised, dockless bike share schemes.
The MOU covers issues which as the promotion of the scheme, its evaluation, customer service and maintenance.
JUMP is required to retrieve abandoned bikes from parks, waterways and public lands.
Although the bikes are dockless, there will be restrictions on where they can be parked so as to avoid the bikes blocking access or congesting busy footpaths. Bikes cannot be parked on narrow footpaths.
There will not be any third party advertising on the bikes.
JUMP will one required to notify in the event of collisions and serious incidents,
The JUMP bikes have built in cable locks and will be locked to bike rails when available.
The MOU also includes resolution timeframes for damaged or discarded e-bikes which need to be met.
Helmets will be provided with the distinctive red electric bikes and users will get in-app instructions about how to safely use and park the e-bikes.
Lord Mayor Sally Capp has expressed excitement at the prospects for the new scheme, particularly as it does not stop at council boundaries.
"Share bike schemes are widely used around the world without the anti-social behaviour experienced previously in Melbourne. We believe locals and visitors will work with JUMP and our councils to make this a success.”
We’re thrilled to partner with @YarraCouncil, @cityportphillip and JUMP by Uber to trial Melbourne's first dockless e-bike share scheme. We want locals and visitors to work with JUMP and our councils to make this a success. The bikes will be serviced and collected by Good Cycles. pic.twitter.com/Ge8VxBYCoI
— City of Melbourne (@cityofmelbourne) February 7, 2020
City of Yarra Mayor Misha Coleman said: “We’re always looking for ways to get more people riding bikes in Yarra, and e-bikes are one of these options. I’ve had one myself for seven years and love it! Yarra is keen to support the trial of JUMP e-bikes, and I really hope it will encourage locals and visitors to make the switch to sustainable transport. We’ll be working closely with JUMP, partner councils and our community to ensure the trial goes as smoothly as possible.”
Port Phillip Mayor Bernadene Voss said: “This new share bike scheme provides a great opportunity for residents – and our many visitors – to easily navigate our beautiful City. We know people love jumping on their bikes to explore Port Phillip."
Feature image: Uber newsroom