A small revolution in the field of mobility is coming to Montreal. “Hundreds” of electric bikes will appear “in the coming weeks” in the city of Montreal. It will become the first Canadian city to welcome Jump, which is a dockless e-bike service from Uber.
This announcement was presented to the media last week in a park in the Pointe-Saint-Charles district, close to Uber’s offices in Montreal. The date of the official launch was not yet announced, but the service should be offered from “the next few weeks”, or even “the next few days,” says Jean-Christophe de Le Rue, Director of Public Affairs of Uber for Quebec province of Canada.
Jump’s red framed e-bikes will be available in accordance with Montreal’s new “unregistered self-service dockless vehicle” policy passed by city council on April 15th.
This new regulation prohibits the parking of electric bicycles and scooters anywhere, other than on a bicycle rack or in one of the 43 dedicated zones. These zones will be created specifically for this type of service in the area of Ville-Marie during this summer.
This regulation also stipulates that each operator is responsible for removing vehicles that obstruct the road or are not properly parked. “If the operator fails to obey the regulations, the City reserves the right to charge costs associated with the removal and storage of e-bikes and e-scooters,” announced the city administration last March. These fines could reach CAN $ 2,000 per fine, in the event of a repeat offense.
These new regulations will also require Uber to obtain an operating license that could cost the company up to CAN $ 27,500.
Currently, Jump electric bikes are already accessible in twenty cities around the world, most of which are in the United States. Jump has recently opened operations in Berlin, Paris and a number of other major cities around the world.
Jean-Christophe de Le Rue is delighted that Montreal will become the first Canadian city to adopt the e-bike rental service. “Usually, it was almost always Toronto where such new services were launched first. This is the first time that Montreal is first on the list. Because Montreal is really a city of bicycles. “
From my point of view, this is really the result of the Montreal administration opening up to try something new.Jean-Christophe de Le Rue, Uber Director of Public Affairs for Quebec
Although the new regulation will allow e-bikes to be deployed in districts of Montreal, Jump’s first electric powered bicycles will be deployed in the city center, said de Le Rue.
Negotiations will also be underway with Westmount to convince the Municipality to adopt a regulation similar to that of Montreal.
Competition from Bixi
According to Mr. de Le Rue, Jump will be “complementary” to already existing service of Bixi. Although Bixi is also thinking of offering an e-bike rental service by expanding its current pilot project, which was launched last summer.
The results of this pilot were submitted to the City, “which should make a decision shortly,” said Christian Vermette, Executive Director of Bixi Montreal.
Reacting to Uber’s upcoming arrival in the self-service bike market, Vermette said he believes users will stay loyal to Bixi, which made 5.3 million trips last year.
“We can not deny that there will be a financial impact with the arrival of a company like Jump or Lime, but we are confident of the effectiveness of our system,” he said in an e-mail sent to Radio-Canada. He noted that Bixi recently added 1000 bicycles and 60 stations to its fleet. This makes a total of 7250 bikes and 600 stations in Montréal.
Uber expects that some Bixi customers will start using Jump e-biking service. In San Francisco, for example, its main service, Uber X, saw a 10% drop in demand after Jump’s arrival.
The price war
While it costs CAN $ 2.95 for a one-way 30-min trip on a Bixi bike, the cost of renting an electric bike from Jump will be 30 cents per minute or CAN $ 9 per half hour. The price will be three times higher, but cyclists will arrive faster at their destination, given that Jump bikes will be electric powered.
No fixed fees will be added to the trips, promises Jean-Christophe de Le Rue. However, penalties will be imposed on riders who fail to park their bicycles in accordance with Montréal regulations. Offenders may even be prohibited from further rentals.
Mr. de Le Rue is sensitive to the concerns of the City, which would like to closely supervise the e-bike rental service to avoid issues observed around the world, for example, in Paris.
“Each bike must be identified with an email address or a phone number where issues can be reported,” says Eric Alan Caldwell, the mobility manager of the executive committee of the City of Montreal.
“During business hours, operators will have two hours to come and solve the problem. Otherwise, the City will take care of the issue at the expense of the operator. In any case, we want responsible operators based in Montreal. And we want them to provide the customer service in French. If the operator does not respect the rules, it could lose the license.”
Fact Sheet: An intelligent electric pedal-assisted bicycle from Jump
- equipped with a 350-watt motor, powered by a battery with a range of about 60 km;
- is equipped with a wireless connection, an active GPS and an integrated padlock system;
- can travel at a maximum of 32 km / h, both on the road and on a bike path;
- does not require a driver’s license.
Uber promises to conduct an awareness campaign when launching the Jump service. During this campaign, safety helmets will be distributed free of charge.
To unlock Jump electric bike, it will be to use Uber’s smartphone app. The integrated bike lock will automatically unlock when the rider scans the QR code of the electric bike using their smartphone.
“You use the e-bike; you respect the Highway Safety Code; you put on a helmet. When you are done, you find a bicycle rack that is available, you lock the bike with the integrated lock and leave it for the next rider. This is how we expect Jump e-bikes to be used safely in Montreal, “summarizes Jean-Christophe de Le Rue.
“As long as the bike lock is not locked, the ride continues and the rider is charged,” he says. “As the pricing is done by the minute, there is an incentive to lock your bike when you are done with your ride. “
Will scooters arrive next?
Uber would also like to launch a dockless electric scooter rental service during the summer. If this is the case, it may face competition, as Lime has also expressed interest in the Montreal market.
For a month and a half, the partner company has even organized a series of test activities to offer the opportunity to test Lime scooters in a secure environment. Around 500 people have tried, says managing director of the Destination Centre-Ville company, Émile Leroux. “The testing went very well,” he said in an interview. The first feedback from riders was really positive. They found the experience very enjoyable. “
The ball is now in the hands of the local government, which will have to adjust its regulations to allow both Uber and Lime to operate their electric scooter service in Montreal.
Émile Leroux crosses his fingers. “I hope that this is done prior to the summer period. It will not be there before the Formula 1 Grand Prix, but it will be, I hope, before Saint-Jean.”
In Canada, Lime has already been offering its electric bike sharing service in Calgary since last fall. The City of Winnipeg is conducting a feasibility study of also implementing this service.
Another electric scooter pilot project is taking place on the campus of the University of Waterloo, Ontario.
This post was translated from French. The original version was published on Radio Canada. Photo credit – Easy E-biking.