The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency granted the city's first permit for offering stationless e-bike sharing to JUMP bikes, the agency announced Tuesday.
"[JUMP] is the only company to have fulfilled the requirements of the SFMTA’s stationless bike share permit application," agency spokesperson Ben Jose wrote in a blog post, adding that the permit will be offered as a pilot program for evaluation.
JUMP bikes are a program of the Brooklyn-based startup Social Bicycles. As we reported in June 2017, the company offered residents in the Bayview and the Mission free access to 100 e-bikes during a two-week trial.
"Over the past few months, we’ve been working closely with the SFMTA and local community groups to design a solution that not only brings e-bikes to the challenging streets of San Francisco but does so in a responsible and accessible way for its many neighborhoods,” Social Bicycles CEO Ryan Rzepecki told TechCrunch.
E-bikes can be located and unlocked with a smartphone app, pin code, or RFID member card and come with an integrated lock that secures the bike to existing bike parking infrastructure.
The permit issued yesterday will give JUMP 18 months to evaluate, collect data, and assess whether more bikes would serve the public interest, the SFMTA said.
"During the 18-month period, the SFMTA will evaluate how a stationless bike share program works in San Francisco, as well as develop further policy recommendations based on the pilot’s results," Jose wrote.
Because these findings may affect future permit applications, the agency will not issue additional stationless bike share permits while the pilot is in effect.
The permit allows JUMP to deploy up to 250 stationless e-bikes with the option of adding 250 more after nine months at the SFMTA’s discretion.
Companies that apply for dockless permits must make bicycles available to customers on an hourly basis, or in smaller intervals. Additionally, bikes must be available for pick-up and drop-off on a 24/7 basis.
On Monday, the local operator of Ford GoBikes also announced plans to launch a pedal assisted e-bike pilot program with 250 docking e-bikes, while Scoot announced last week that it planned to add hundreds of dockless e-bikes to its San Francisco fleet this spring.
Now that SFMTA has announced plans to suspend issuing the required permits permit for 18 months, those plans may be on hold, however.