Red Jump bikes will temporarily disappear from Seattle streets in coming days, as former rival Lime takes over the rentable bikes and prepares to redeploy them later this spring, Lime representatives said.
The switch-up comes after Uber, which owned Jump, led a $170 million investment in Lime and Lime acquired Jump’s operations, the companies said Thursday.
Lime will temporarily remove Jump bikes from Seattle streets for maintenance and system changes, said Jonathan Hopkins, who works in government affairs for Lime. The company offered no firm date of when the bikes would return.
“We’re going to try to do it as quick as we can,” Hopkins said.
Previously, both Lime and Jump rented bikes in Seattle, but Lime took its roughly 2,000 green bikes off Seattle streets in December.
Lime has expressed interest in bringing rentable electric scooters to Seattle, but the rollout of a scooter program is currently awaiting a decision from the city hearing examiner.
Lime has largely shifted from bikes to electric scooters in some cities but is “just as committed as before” to bikes and scooters in Seattle, Hopkins said. “The absence of bikes will be a small blip, then they will come back. … We’ll be here a very long time,” he said.
The coronavirus pandemic has upended travel throughout the region and it remains to be seen when and at what scale people will return to work and other activities — and how they’ll choose to get there.
When Jump bikes return to Seattle, the branding will look similar and the bikes will be available in both the Uber and Lime apps, Lime representatives said.
The city previously said it could eventually allow permits for up to 20,000 scooters and bikes. However, the companies have previously deployed fewer than the maximum number of bikes they were allowed, so a 20,000-bike or scooter fleet may never come to pass.
Early plans from the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) indicate scooters would be allowed in bike lanes, but not on sidewalks.
In January, the last month for which data is available, Jump had deployed about 2,200 to 3,200 bikes, less than half its fleet in January 2019, according to SDOT. In total, bike-share users took about 64,000 trips in January, down from the two previous Januarys.