Share bikes are returning to Melbourne after Melbourne, Yarra and Port Phillip councils struck a deal with Uber to allow their brand of JUMP e-bikes to operate in the city.
Hundreds of JUMP dockless e-bikes will be placed on the streets in March with people able to book them through an Uber app for $1, with an additional charge of 30 cents per minute of riding.
Councils made a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Uber that outlines how the share bike scheme will run so the problems that came with oBikes, like people throwing the bikes in the Yarra River, do not repeat.
While full details of the MOU are not yet available, City of Melbourne says the e-bikes will be equipped with geo-fencing technology and digital monitoring the exact location of every bike is available.
Good Cycles will manage the JUMP bikes on behalf of Uber, including keeping them charged and serviced and moving them if need be.
Melbourne has been without public share bikes since November when the state government retired the docked blue bikes.
Uber has had intentions to operate JUMP bikes in Australia for some time and currently have them running in more than 30 cities around the world.
The bikes will land on the streets in batches. After the first 400 or so are dropped off in Melbourne next month, their usage will be monitored and more bikes released.
Helmets will be available with each bike so that people easily decide to hire one for a ride and still satisfy local laws.
The e-bikes will give all kinds of people the opportunity to ride, including tourists and locals. City workers will also be able to use the bikes to get around town as quickly as possible, with the electric assistance helping them not get too warm and sweaty.
When the bikes become available Bicycle Network will have more information about how to book and use the bikes.
A short history of share bikes in Melbourne
- Melbourne Bike Share, the docked blue bikes sponsored by RACV, was launched in 2010
- The blue bikes didn't get used a lot in their first few years, mostly because there were not enough docking stations which made it hard ride a blue bike to where you wanted to go.
- In 2017 another breed of share bike hit the streets. Dockless yellow oBikes could be seen everywhere for a few months, but unfortunately not where they should be. Many ended up in the Yarra River, on roofs and used as street art.
- In June 2018 oBike retreated and took their bikes away after local councils put tough rules in place for bikes that weren't parked properly
- The Andrews Labor Government announced they were pulling the pin on Melbourne Bike Share in August 2019 and removed the docks and bikes in November that year. Bicycle Network asked for the bikes to be set up in a smaller city.