Ridesharing

Uber Says European Bike, Scooter Adoption Has Surpassed US

Uber is planning to ring in 2020 with increased investment in electric bikes and scooters, with an emphasis on Europe, CNBC reported on Monday (Dec. 16).

Although Uber has said it will be profitable by 2021, shareholders could balk at the ridesharing giant putting money into a singular purpose. Uber’s purchase of Jump last year was made amid investors’ enthusiasm with eScooter startups like Lime and Bird. Meanwhile, venture capitalists have earmarked millions of dollars for rivals Voi and Tier in Europe.

“We want to double down on micro-mobility,” Christian Freese, Jump’s head of EMEA, told the news outlet. “We have seen how beautifully it works with our core business and ride-sharing, and want to invest more and deeper, especially in Europe.”

According to Uber, use of Jump bikes and scooters in Europe is stronger than in the U.S. Over a half-million Europeans used them in the last eight months for a total of 5 million trips. Uber said that eBikes and scooters are used the most frequently in Paris, followed by Sacramento and Seattle.

Regardless of popularity with riders, eBikes and scooters are not fully embraced by regulators in Europe and the U.S. Speeding is one concern officials have along with the hazard of bikes and scooters ditched on streets. Britain has totally banned them and France rolled out stricter regulations. 

Uber has had “very fruitful discussions in the U.K.,” Freese told CNBC. Uber is in negotiations with the U.K. and other parts of Europe about how the company can roll out bikes and scooters and address safety issues.

“When we are thinking about bringing a product to a market, especially a product like scooters, we are working very closely with local officials,” he said. 

The company is prioritizing a London expansion despite the recent ruling by Transport for London (TfL) that it wasn’t going to renew Uber’s license to operate there. Uber launched eBikes and scooters there in early 2019. Uber is hoping to roll out in the London boroughs of Hackney, Islington and Camden. Uber is appealing the decision handed down by TfL and can operate in the meantime.

Bike and scooter-sharing are expanding to more cities as mobility-as-a-service retail offerings continue to grow.

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