It was recently announced that Uber is setting its intentions on purchasing Jump Bike, a tech-driven social bike start-up in Brooklyn, NY. That means that, soon enough, Uber users will be able book a Jump Bike by simply using the Uber app, a move that strategically positions Uber even further into the constructive transportation realm. The acquisition will probably be somewhere between $100 to $200 million.
This is great news for Buffalo. Why? Because Buffalo based Shared Mobility Inc. was the non-profit that developed the WNY testing ground (electric dockless sharing services – docking stations, GPS capabilities, etc.) for Social Bicycles in 2012. Social Bicycles eventually transitioned into Jump Bike.
New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) and New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT) worked hand-in-hand with Shared Mobility, Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus (BNMC), and other local partners, to pilot and test the Social Bicycles start-up, with $150,000 working capital.
“Buffalo is a great place to invest in,” said Mike Galligano, CEO of Shared Mobility Inc., the company that helped to establish the first public flexible bike sharing service in the nation. “NYSERDA helped lay the groundwork to allow for entrepreneurship in innovative transportation in Buffalo that has now reached an international scale.”
The BNMC worked in partnership with NYSERDA/NYSDOT and the University at Buffalo to test the wireless technology, GPS and dock-less (racks), which proved to perform beyond expectations. Those tests set the wheels in motion for cities such as Tampa, Portland, Santa Monica, and Hamilton, Ontario to develop similar programs. In Buffalo, the technology sprang forth Reddy Bikeshare, which is sponsored by Independent Health. There are 240 Reddy Bikes currently operational in WNY.
Currently, there are 240 Reddy Bikes in the WNY region (40 at UB). That number will ramp up to close to 400 by 2019.
Interestingly enough, Jump Bike uses pedal assist electric-bikes (lead image), which are not yet available in NYS due to dated State regulations (similar to the issues that Uber had in NYS, which delayed the ridesharing company coming to Buffalo). Apparently Uber is working hard to ease those NYS regulations, so that the availability of pedal assist e-bike technology can one day become a reality in cities such as Buffalo. Obviously, Uber is missing a major market (NYC) that is not benefitting from the super cool pedal assist e-bike advancement, which means that the push is on to change the state regulations. That will ultimately benefit Buffalo as well, by allowing the bicycle sharing companies to roll out electric assist bikes, which will help to encourage even more people to use bicycles as commuter transportation.