I had a mindset for the last three weeks that the problem with the JUMP system was that bikes were not being used because they were not being charged and re-balanced. But my observations this weekend show that I had things flipped. The system is getting used so much that the bikes are running out of battery. Everywhere I went in the central city, I saw people riding them. I’d see a bike parked, and ten minutes later it was gone, in use by someone else. I don’t know when JUMP will provide rides-per-bike data to the partners, but I think it will indicate that, at least on weekends, each bike is getting many trips per day.
The app map this morning showed almost no bikes in the central city, and what there were were in low-battery status. On my walk, I saw five bikes in very low battery ‘in repair’ status, all within a few blocks of my home. Another had a dead GPS battery, which I think happens when they stay in ‘in repair’ mode for a long time. The bikes are still in the central city, but they are out of juice because they have been used so many times.
Two things users could do to help:
- If you find a dead GPS battery bike, with the display blank and the keypad unresponsive, email JUMP at email@example.com to let them know the location, street and cross-street. Include that it is in Sacramento, or West Sacramento, or Davis, as the bike numbers alone don’t pin down which city the bike is in.
- If your destination is within a block, or perhaps two, of a hub, park at the hub. That not only makes it easier for the next person to find it, but makes it easier for the JUMP field crew to find it, particularly if it eventually goes to dead battery and drops off the system.
No hub or rack near your destination? You can submit location requests to JUMP at the same firstname.lastname@example.org email address. There are a number of locations which have been identified for hubs but not yet installed. Some of them in repurposed parking spaces, marked with thick white lines and two delineators. But it doesn’t hurt to submit an already planned location, so go ahead. SACOG has promised a map of future hub locations, but I’ve not seen it. Presumably it will show up on the SACOG Bike Share page: https://www.sacog.org/bike-share.