ITE Journal - February 2020 - 47

JUMP: A Journey with Equity at its Origins
As cities adopt these micromobility modes and continually revise
and tweak the rules that govern them, equity is emerging as an
important issue in the competitive procurement process. For
example, the District Department of Transportation (DDOT) in
Washington, DC, USA recently announced that, as it expanded its
e-bike and e-scooter program, it was establishing "equity zones,"
requiring vendors to deploy at least 400 vehicles in those areas
during the morning rush hour. Most of those designated zones are
in traditionally low-income areas and communities of color east of
the Anacostia River.2 The four vendors selected by the competitive
bidding process were given the green-light to deploy up to 10,000
e-scooters at the start of this year-JUMP (owned by Uber), Lyft,
Skip, and Spin. Two permits for dockless bikes (e-bikes) were granted
to Italian-based company Helbiz, and JUMP. Those companies are
allowed to deploy a total of 5,000 e-bikes in the District.
JUMP was eager and prepared to meet the equity requirements
from DDOT when submitting their bid, as the company had been
focused on equity both before and after it was acquired by Uber.
That's according to Colin Hughes, head of policy for e-scooters and
e-bikes at JUMP and Uber. In fact, he says making transportation
more accessible for underserved communities was a key catalyst for
JUMP's original founding. That was before Uber's acquisition of
JUMP in 2018, when it was a company called Social Bicycles, started
by Ryan Rzepecki who is now CEO of JUMP Bikes.
"Our founder was an urban planner, so he didn't come from
the start-up and business world," Hughes tells ITE Journal. "He was
looking at bike share back before 2010 and said, these shared bikes are
really cool, but these docks are really expensive, and not very scalable."
Getting bikes out to more people, in more parts of the
community, was a key reason Social Bicycles created and deployed
the first dockless bikes. "Ryan said, if we can get rid of these really
expensive docks-which really cost more than the bikes-then we'd
be able to create a system that's more flexible, more free-floating,
and would work better for users," Hughes says. "Bike share is a
great mode for low-income areas, so how can we make it financially
scaled so that it's bigger and better in those areas?"
Data do exist, at least from some cities, that show docked bikes
fail to widely reach low-income populations and communities of
color. For example, a study of Citi Bike, a large docked bike-shar-

ing network in New York City, NY, USA, found that the system
overwhelmingly only reaches users who are white and affluent.
"Only 15.9 percent of New Yorkers living in poverty have access
to bike-sharing; the figure goes up slightly, to 16.5 percent, when
looking at New Yorkers of color. And nearly 30 percent of city
denizens have no access to either bike-sharing systems or the
subway," according to Curbed New York, which reported on the
study conducted by the New York Communities for Change and the
McGill University School of Urban Planning.3
There's also evidence to support the idea that e-bikes and
e-scooters are not only better perceived, but are better reaching
communities of color than their docked counterparts. Populus
recently partnered with DDOT to help assess the equitable distribution of e-bikes and e-scooters in Washington, DC, USA. They
compared the data to the use of the Capital Bikeshare program, the
region's docked bike system.

Rosamar / Shutterstock.com

These modes are also more affordable than ride-sharing services.
Data have found that shared micromobility modes are positively
perceived by people in lower income brackets, according to
Populous, a group that aggregates and manages mobility data. Its
2018 Micro-mobility study-a survey of more than 7,000 people
in major U.S. cities-found that that public support for micromobility services was higher among lower income groups than
station-based bicycles.1

JUMP began as a dockless bike company called Social Bicycles and
was acquired by Uber in 2018.
Their study found that "adoption rates for the new dockless
services have surpassed the adoption rates of the existing Capital
Bikeshare system across all demographics," as Populus wrote
in a November 2018 article for Medium describing the results.4
"Black and African-American residents of D.C. (which represent
47 percent of the population) have adopted dockless services at a
significantly higher ratio: 2.6 times more (versus 1.2 times more for
white residents)."
Hughes says that JUMP has seen the same results in its own
data. "We've seen some strong results that indicate this is a product
that works better for these communities than the traditional
bike-share system. It's more flexible-you don't have to find a
station, you can get around a little faster," Hughes notes. "In general
w w w .i t e.or g

Fe b ruar y 2020

47


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ITE Journal - February 2020

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