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NYC bike-share program expands to include e-bikes

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Back in April, New York relinquished its unreasonable ban on electric-assist bicycles within the city. And now the first bike-share fleets featuring e-bikes have arrived.

Jump Bikes, which ironically started in New York City, finally arrived in the Big Apple after riding into San Francisco; the nearby beach town of Santa Cruz, California; Washington, D.C.; and other cities more recently.

This weekend the e-bikes available through the Uber app (Uber acquired Jump earlier this year) were newly rentable in Staten Island, and on Monday, the bikes made a debut in the Bronx. Jump still also has its own standalone app, which lets you rent bicycles for $2 for 30 minutes, the same price via the Uber app.

Monday’s Bronx launch in the central area around Fordham University is a pilot with 200 bicycles that have a battery-powered motor that kicks in to help you pedal. Unlike New York’s Citi Bikes program run through Motivate (recently acquired by Lyft, keep up!), Jump Bikes are “dock-less,” meaning they can be picked up and dropped off at any post or bike rack. The vehicles don’t have a home base or dock; anywhere can ostensibly work to park the bicycle.

Also this month, the Rockaways in Queens are the new home to 400 bicycles from Lime and Pace.

Jump was one of five companies selected to participate in a New York City Department of Transportation pilot program. Ofo, in the midst of a major downsizing, backed out after getting the go-ahead for the bike-share program.

Lime is also offering bicycles through the pilot program, and its fleet includes an e-bike. But Jump’s entire fleet is notably only e-bike. No traditional bikes here.

The new bicycle programs may not be in downtown Manhattan, but the dock-less bike-share frenzy is moving closer and closer to the hold Motivate has on the city. Though, Citi Bike is supposedly bringing electric bicycles to New York soon, especially with an impending subway line shut down. In San Francisco, Motivate’s bike-share program recently introduced an e-bike. But it’s still station-, or dock-, based.

Other cities across the U.S. keep surpassing NYC with experiments and tests involving alternate transit methods, whether that’s dockless bike-share, scooters, or combined rides with public transit, ride-hailing apps, and a “last-mile” ride on a scooter or e-bike.

New York City, or at least the outer boroughs, are finally getting a taste of the new transit revolution.

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