A bike share program is launching in Santa Cruz in March of 2018. The fleet of 250 JUMP smart-bikes will rent for $2 per 30 minutes of riding within city limits.
The bikes are flaming red and designed with no removable parts, built in U-locks, and a GPS tracker to make them virtually theft-proof.
Besides deterring theft, the GPS also allows users to locate available bicycles via an app.
There is no time limit for JUMP bike rentals, but the convenience and pricing of the red bikes shine on short trips. For comparison, you could rent a bike from a local bike shop for an entire week for less than it would cost you to book a JUMP bike for 24 hours.
To rent, users download an app, fill out a liability waiver and contract and then provide a credit card to use for their account. Once a nearby bike is selected the app provides a pin to unlock the bike. Users are strongly encouraged to wear their helmets, but for riders older than 18 California does not require them.
The JUMP bikes, provided by Social Bicycle of New York, are “stationless,” meaning that users can lock them up to any bike rack when they’re done riding. Other bike-share initiatives, such as the Ford GoBikes in the Bay Area, require users to pick up and drop off bikes at designated docking stations, which may limit where users can take them. There is, however, an extra $1 charge if a JUMP bike isn’t brought back to one of the hubs set to be installed in around Santa Cruz. There is also a $1 incentive for the next rider to drop the bike back at a hub.
For people who hate struggling up hills, 50 of the bikes will be equipped with electric assist. The e-bikes will have a 250-watt electric motor that can propel users up inclines or reach a top speed of 19 mph in the flats.
The City of Santa Cruz is launching Bike Share as part of Go Santa Cruz — a broader effort to reduce emissions and combat climate change. The city aims to use the JUMP bikes to encourage even more people to use bicycles for transportation.
“People are excited about bike share coming to Santa Cruz. They’ve wondered why it has taken so long,” said Claire Fliesler, a transportation planner with the city. “Not only is it a great way to help people get around, but it’s a really fun way to get around.”
Bike theft is one of the most common forms of theft in Santa Cruz and during the Bike Share comment period members of the community said they sometimes avoid biking due to concerns about theft. The JUMP bikes will allow riders to rest easy in the knowledge that their prized wheels aren’t at risk. Every part on the JUMP bikes is custom fabricated to require non-standard tools for removal and maintenance. This also means the parts won’t work on other bikes and have little resale value.
The City’s Bike Share partner, Social Bicycles, operates bike-sharing programs in 27 cities including San Francisco and Portland, Oregon. The contract between the City and Social Bicycles is such that the company is responsible both for providing the bikes and for keeping them in good working order, all at no cost to the city.