Thu, Jun 07, 2018 - Page 12 News List

Uber’s JUMP bikes enter Germany

Reuters, BERLIN

Uber Technologies Inc CEO Dara Khosrowshahi, left, presents the JUMP ride-sharing bicycle alongside Axel Springer hy GmbH CEO Christoph Keese in Berlin yesterday.

Photo: Bloomberg

Uber Technologies Inc, the ride-hailing company that has been banned from many European cities, is to launch its JUMP electric bicycle sharing service in Germany, as it diversifies and seeks to build bridges with local authorities.

Uber chief executive Dara Khosrowshahi made the announcement at a conference in Berlin, as dozens of German taxi drivers outside waved placards that read “Uber go Home.”

“I want this to signal a deep commitment to Germany,” Khosrowshahi said, arriving on stage with a bright red JUMP bicycle. “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 has faced a rough ride in Europe, where protests by taxi drivers have in the past turned violent and court bans have forced it to shut down some of its services, including in Germany, France, Italy, Spain and Belgium.

Additionally, Uber and other ride-hailing app-based companies have been accused of causing congestion in major cities such as London.

Uber bought the JUMP start-up as part of a bid to become the go-to app for urban transport, be it buses, bikes, cars or even trains, allowing people to book trips across a range of services.

Its dockless electric bike has already been rolled out in San Francisco, where there are 250 bikes, as well as Washington.

After sweeping through China, bike-sharing has spread to Europe and North America, with US players seeking to keep pace with the international forays of Chinese rivals.

Berlin has been swamped with brightly colored bicycles in the past year, including from China’s Mobike Technology Co Ltd (摩拜科技) and Ofo (小黃車), and US start-up LimeBike, with the authorities trying to regulate the number of bikes as they block sidewalks and are dumped in parks.

Uber wants to bring JUMP to Berlin by the end of the summer and launch in other European cities in the coming months, Khosrowshani said, adding that it would also start a fully electric Uber Green service in Berlin later this year, following its launch in Munich.

“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 said.

Uber is fighting a decision by Transport for London to strip it of its license after it was deemed unfit to run a taxi service and has started sharing data about its millions of trips with the authorities to try to fight congestion.

Since taking over in August last year, Khosrowshahi has been trying to improve the image of Uber, which has been rocked by management turmoil and tarnished by revelations about an allegedly sexist workplace culture.

“I didn’t have to convince the company that the macho culture was wrong, everyone at the company knew it,” he said.

He said he recognized that Uber’s mission to “democratize mobility” could hurt some people.

“When you’re changing traditions, there are constituencies you may anger,” he said, adding that he might try to talk to the protesters.

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