San Francisco, June 17 (IANS) U.S. ride-hailing leader Uber is going to launch its new e-bikes sharing service in Seattle, the largest city in the west U.S. state of Washington state, next month, according to a media report.
The new Uber service, to be provided by JUMP, a bike-share startup acquired by Uber in April, will be immediately available soon after the Seattle City Council approves a bike-share permit programme in the city in July, The Seattle Times newspaper said.
The arrival of the Uber-backed JUMP would heighten the competition among the companies that’s brought 10,000 bikes, available for low-cost rental, scattered in nearly all corners of the city, reported Xinhua news agency quoting the newspaper.
San Francisco-based Uber is poised to face strong challenge from three other rivals, Spin, ofo and Lime, which are already operating in Seattle on one-year permits that expire in July.
"We’ll make a decision to apply for a permit once we see the regulations… We do hope to launch in Seattle," Uber spokesman Nathan Hambley said.
The Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) plans to present a proposal on the permit program to the City Council for approval next month.
The SDOJ wants to formulate measures to allow bike-sharing service without seeing bikes parked haphazardly in the city, a phenomenon often complained about by residents.
SDOT spokeswoman Mafara Hobson said the city’s forthcoming regulations will try to address that issue by adopting a strong proactive approach to manage bike-share parking, "ensuring that the companies keep sidewalks, curb ramps and transit access clear."
Uber’s e-bikes are electric assisted, which still need to pedal, but an electric motor (with a maximum speed of 32 km per hour) will help, especially riding uphill.