400 electric-assist bikes to be available in Providence in summer 2018

Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza has launched JUMP Bikes, a public-private partnership to bring 400 shareable electric bikes to the city. These bikes are dockless, in that they can be parked at any bike rack or to any fixed object. Each bike is equipped with GPS and “hardware that riders can use to secure their bikes at the end of each trip.”

“A bike share program positions Providence to be a more sustainable, healthier, and fun city for years to come,” said Elorza. “Similar programs across the nation have had transformative effects on communities. We are thrilled to be among the first cities in the region to offer these bikes that will allow residents and visitors to explore the capital city in a unique and exciting way.”

In a press release, the City says that “JUMP Bikes are owned and operated by Social Bicycles, a Brooklyn, New York based company and one of the most trusted bike share companies with over 12,000 dockless bicycles in over 40 markets including Washington, DC, New Orleans, Louisiana, and Portland, Oregon. The launch is the result of a public-private partnership between Social Bicycles, the City of Providence, and the Rhode Island Public Transit Authority (RIPTA).”

“We’re excited to bring JUMP Bikes to Providence,” said Ryan Rzepecki, Founder and CEO of Social Bicycles/JUMP. “The city has committed to making bicycling a viable transportation option for local residents and is poised to become a leader for the future of sustainable transportation. Our e-bikes will transform Providence for residents and visitors, making communities feel closer than ever and bringing new excitement to bike riding.”

“Like other public transit authorities across the country, RIPTA supports travel options that give people an alternative to using their cars,” said Barbara Polichetti, Director of Public Affairs at RIPTA. “Biking can be a great way to commute to work, or navigate the city – and RIPTA can help. All of our fixed-route buses are equipped with bicycle racks that can carry two bikes. Every year we join Providence in supporting Bike to Work week and we hope people take advantage of the health and environmental benefits that a bike share program can offer.”

Dockless bikes are different from bike share programs you may have seen in other cities. Dockless bikes can be picked up and dropped of anywhere within the city. In Washington DC, there were some complaints of improperly parked bikes when the system was tested last year. “Some bikes have been parked in or on dumpsters, inside retail stores, or simply left blocking entrances to buildings and sidewalks,” said Sam Zimbabwe, chief project delivery officer with the Washington District Department of Transportation.

But in the same article, “Nelle Pierson, External Affairs Director for Jump Mobility, said Jump bikes have managed to largely avoid the problem of improperly parked bikes. Unlike the other dockless operators, Jump includes hardware that riders can use to secure their bikes at the end of each trip.

“Pierson said the company has only had to deal with improperly parked bikes six times, and the company has 100 bikes on the street right now.”

The press release from the Mayor’s office notes that, “JUMP Bike share is a membership-based system that can be used for commuting, exercise, and recreation… JUMP e-bikes have a pedal assist motor, which allows for speeds up to 20 miles per hour. The electric assist requires pedaling. The pedal assist makes it easier for people to travel over hills and across longer distances in a shorter amount of time.”

The process of using the bikes in DC is similar to ZipCar.

  1. Register: Sign up online or on the JUMP Mobility app, which you can also use to find and reserve bikes.
  2. Rent: Enter your 4 digit PIN to unlock the bike. Want to stop for coffee? Press the “HOLD” button and lock the bike to a rack. Just enter your 4-digit PIN to unlock and continue your ride.
  3. Ride: When riding, remember to follow the rules of the road. If you have an issue with your bicycle, press the “REPAIR” button and then lock the bike to a rack.
  4. Return: To end your trip, lock your bike to any bike rack. If you return your bike to a hub you’ll receive a $1 credit to your account.

The press release from the Mayor also notes that there will be an “extensive” community input period prior to launch.

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About Steve Ahlquist 597 Articles
Steve Ahlquist is a frontline reporter in Rhode Island. He has covered human rights, social justice, progressive politics and environmental news for half a decade. Uprise RI is his new project, and he's doing all he can to make it essential reading. atomicsteve@gmail.com

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