The Latest Ride Share Rolling Into PVD That Everyone You Know Is Posting About
During the summer Providence saw its first form of rideshare pop up since Uber and Lyft became power players in the city. Bird electric scooters appeared without warning and with mixed feelings. Then, with even less warning, they disappeared. A reminder that a rideshare is just that, it’s “shared” - meaning it may not be where you need it to be sometimes. But the power vacuum left by Bird wasn’t empty for long. JUMP bikeshare quickly found its place in our little metropolis, but what are they and how do they work?
Bought by Uber in May JUMP Bike share is a membership-based app platform. If you were familiar with the Bird scooter you’ll find some similar features with JUMP, although the price differs a little. There are bike rack hubs all over Providence, but you can also leave them where you like or find them throughout the city using JUMP’s app or through the Uber app itself. (At the top, you’ll notice an icon reading “Ride” with a car. If you tap it the option for “Bikes” appears.)
Providence is a city begging for a better public transportation system. It’s a little over twenty square miles, but on a bad day it could easily take you half an hour to cross the city by car. I’m not even going to talk about waiting for a RIPTA bus to accomplish the same trip. Any kind of subway or above ground rail system running from the west side to the east side would do wonders for local commuters and the economy, but don’t hold your breath. Just use JUMP Bike instead…
For what it’s worth I liked the Bird scooters, but I’m well aware many people had differing opinions about them. The most common complaint was that they were “littering the sidewalks.” A statement that is not entirely incorrect, however I’m seeing more than a few JUMP Bikes not at a hub and not connected to a rack of any kind. But anything is better than trying to catch a bus when you’re late or hailing an Uber or Lyft during rush hour.
One more aspect to this story that I find intriguing is that the city itself cut a deal for the JUMP Bikes in December of last year, about sevenish months before Bird showed up without notice. After which point Providence was quick to create legislation that required Bird to apply for an operation permit and for the company to have a heavy insurance policy. That’s why the scooters disappeared literally overnight.
The bikes are made possible with support from City of Providence, Lifespan, Tufts Health Plan and RIPTA (Rhode Island Public Transit Authority). That’s a lot of ocean state political clout right there. Which is why I don’t think we’ll be seeing Bird scooters back again any time soon. But hey, they’ve got cup holders!
Thanks for reading,
+ Colin Carlton