Back in June, I suggested that the JUMP system was failing (Two weeks in – failure?). The major issues were that low battery bikes were not being picked up for recharging for several days, there were nowhere close to the 300 promised bikes, and the GPS units did not seem to be reporting correct information or communicating with the network.
We are now at 600 bikes (I think), the bikes are being picked up for charging much more quickly, the drop zones seem to be working for accumulating the bikes that needs to be charged, the GPS units and network are having many fewer problems, and most importantly, there are enough bikes out in the Sacramento central city that there is a bike available within two blocks or so. So, I’m declaring success for the central city. The number of bikes has reached a critical mass necessary for a successful system, and it is working GREAT. I have only occasionally used the bikes in West Sacramento and Davis, so can’t offer a perspective on those two cities.
Just like transit, which can be judged in part by whether a train or bus is coming soon, a bike share system can be judged by whether there is a bike easily available. There are still a few times of day, and a few locations within the central city where it may be hard to find a bike, but most of the time, they are there waiting for you.
East Sacramento, Land Park, and Oak Park are not doing as well, particularly Oak Park. There is not a sufficient density of bikes in these areas that there will be one available close by. In fact, it can be a quarter mile or more between bikes.
Another criteria for judging bike share systems is whether they are reducing motor vehicle trips. In the central city, it seems to be doing so. My impression is that there is a noticeable reduction in motor vehicle traffic, particularly in the evening. Evenings, the bikes are being used largely by young people moving between various restaurants, music venues and bars. It seems like a lot of during-the-evening travel is by bike, but I notice that many people are going home via ride hailing (Lyft and Uber), because it is late, or they are drunk, or they live outside the JUMP system boundary. I have heard from rail hail drivers that evening business is down, and from riders that the drivers are complaining about it. All of this is anecdotal, and no one has made data available yet. I’m not sure that the city would even know if there has been a shift in travel mode. But to the degree that anecdotal evidence is true, this is a good sign. More active transportation trips, fewer motor vehicle trips, is exactly what is needed.
The bikes are also being used for commute trips, and at-work errands. These bikes may only get used for the to-work and to-home trips plus maybe one more trip during the day. On evenings and weekends, each bike in the central city seems to be getting many uses a day. When I park a bike in a popular part of the central city, it is often gone within five minutes. On the other hand, some of the outlying bikes in the suburban neighborhoods are not getting much use, sitting there for several days in a few cases before someone grabs them, or they are picked up by JUMP.