The Singaporean oBikes were no match for the local market, but three inner-city councils are hoping Uber-operated Jump e-bikes (electric bicycles) will be a longer-lasting, sustainable solution to the city’s transport woes.
Around 400 fire-hydrant red e-bikes will roll into the City of Melbourne – which includes the CBD and surrounds, Docklands, Carlton, Parkville, Kensington, Flemington and South Yarra – in March.
More e-bikes will then be deployed into the Yarra and Port Phillip council areas, as part of a one-year trial.
Unlike oBikes, the Jump e-bikes will be serviced and maintained by an on-the-ground team in Melbourne, led by local social enterprise and bike shop Good Cycles, which supports young people experiencing disadvantage.
The roll-out will also be slower, and follows the success of the scheme in more than 30 other cities including Los Angeles, London, Berlin, Paris and Aukland.
The e-bikes are also rented and paid for through the Uber app, meaning their locations are tracked, and any attempts at creative parking will be met with fines, or bans from Uber’s suite of apps including Uber Eats.
As with Uber, minute-by-minute charges apply, and the rate is expected to be around 30 cents per minute, plus a $1 fee.
Each e-bike is fitted with a motor to assist riders with pedalling at up to 25 kilometres an hour and riders must follow normal road and helmet laws, with helmets provided.