Uber wants to diversify away from its controversial taxi business, but is bike-sharing just another battlefield?
Ride-hailing company Uber is bringing its JUMP electric bicycle sharing service to Europe.
Uber has had an uneasy relationship with Europe, having official or semi-official bans across a number of cities, which have seen the company pull out of whole countries altogether.
This move will not only help it diversify away from its core business but also to form connections with local authorities, which may find an environmentally friendly bike sharing service more palatable than Uber’s controversial taxi business.
“Germany is a little bit of a signal of what the new Uber can be like… We want to work with local governments and cities to make our model work,” Uber chief executive Dara Khosrowshahi announced at a Berlin conference.
He said that Uber wants to launch JUMP in Berlin by the end of the summer, with additional launches in other European cities coming in the next few months.
“Uber stands ready to help address some of the biggest challenges facing German cities: tackling air pollution, reducing congestion and increasing access to cleaner transportation solutions,” he added.
JUMP has already rolled out 250 of its dockless electric bikes in San Francisco, as well as moving in to Washington.
JUMP will face competition in Germany from a number of rivals, such as China’s Mobike and US LimeBike. Berlin has been swamped with bikes as eight bike-sharing companies have brought an estimated 18,000 bikes to the city.
Uber could well find itself in the middle of a new backlash as authorities try to curb the spread of bikes, which are clogging up pavements around the city.