public or private bike share?

JUMP (Uber) pulled out of the Sacramento region (the cities of Sacramento, West Sacramento, and Davis) in order to meet their concerns about COVID-19. They announced this on March 18, though the bikes and scooters were mostly gone two days before that (except for a few dead ones they still haven’t picked up because without GPS they don’t know where the devices are).

Of course the bikes and scooters were getting used a great deal for recreation and socialization, but they were also being used by many people to get to and from work, and to go grocery shopping (small loads) and other errands. Some of these people do not have an alternative, they do not own a bike, or their bike is not functional. I don’t know what the level of participation was in the JUMP Boost program for low income individuals, but I suspect most of those people do not own cars, or cannot afford to keep them running, so JUMP bikes were a major transportation solution for these people. JUMP pulled the rug out from under these people. As a private company, they are entitled to do so. I will note that Spin scooters still seem to be available, and Spin has publicly made a commitment to continuing to offer scooters.

I am not one of the people depending on JUMP bikes. I have a bike, and using JUMP was just a matter of convenience for me, letting me make faster trips to the store and other errands, and during the warm/hot months, get there without a sweat. But there are others not so fortunate.

I consider bike share to be a part of the transit system for Sacramento. Both JUMP and SacRT also seem to see it this way – they cooperated to install JUMP charging hubs at a number of light rail stations in the city of Sacramento. But now we are without that first mile/last mile option (as it is called, though bike certainly allow more than a mile). Just as transit is funded by the public (as well as user fees), bike share, and probably scooter share, should be funded by the public (as well as user fees).

Going forward, the city needs to give serious thoughts to whether it is acceptable to have a private system as the only provider of mobility devices. Coronavirus is only one ‘natural’ disaster emergency. There will be others from other causes that demand we continue to have a functional transportation system. I am not suggesting that JUMP be eliminated in favor of a public system. JUMP (Uber) has had its issues, but when I think back to where we were before SoBi > JUMP, I can’t doubt it was a good thing. Certainly the fairly rapid expansion of the number of bikes and scooters, and the service area enlarged to much more (though not all) of the city of Sacramento, could not have happened without private investment.

Maybe the city can work out an agreement with JUMP that a certain number of bikes would remain available through any disaster. And through education, make it clear that this limited set of bikes if for Boost members and people in essential occupations.

I don’t know the best solution, and am happy to hear from others. What I do know is that if we come out the other side of the pandemic without having talked about this, we have failed to plan for the future and ensure an effective and equitable transportation system.

Dr. Destiny Thomas (@DrDesThePlanner) posted on Twitter today that if we are serious about bicycling as an alternative during these times, we need to address how to get bikes into the hands of those who don’t have them and can’t afford them. I agree!

JUMP news

I learned from a JUMP field staff how to deal with U-bars that won’t insert. Just move the rear wheel a bit, and it will go in. The U-bar is hitting the spokes, so rotating the rear wheel removes the block. This happens particularly with the charging rack, since with the front wheel locked into the rack, the rear wheel doesn’t move as much.

JUMP just changed their return to hub policy. Users will get a 25 cent credit for returning a bike to any hub, on that trip, and a dollar credit for returning to any charging hub. The email (graphics below) doesn’t make it clear if this applies to any drop zone hub, or only the charging hubs, but my experience yesterday and today is that it is for any drop zone hub (the green icon with lightning bolt). The credit I got for drop zone hubs was $1.25, both credits together. This could change. It could also vary depending on your membership type. I hope that this will encourage people to return bikes to hubs at the end of their trip. I often see bikes parked less than a half block from hub. Will 25 cents make a difference? Probably not, but it is a start. How about 50 cents, JUMP? In some other cities, there is a charge of $2 for leaving a bike outside a hub, in addition to the trip charge. I hope that we don’t need to go there in Sacramento.

I now have a student membership in JUMP Sac since I’m a student at American River College. At $30 a year, it is a great deal for anyone who uses JUMP regularly. You get 60 free minutes a day. Almost makes it worth being a student! An oddity is that taking a bike to a drop zone hub for credit counts against my daily minutes, until the daily minutes are used up, then the ride time is no longer charged. So it seems I get partial credit while I still have minutes, and full credit after I don’t have minutes remaining. I’m not sure I understand this structure, and I’m not sure it is consistent.

I, and everyone else, had hoped that bike parking would improve over time as people got used to the system, but parking seems to be getting worse rather than better. I’m not talking about parking in the buffer zone or to the side on wide sidewalks, which while technically illegal is practical where there are no bike racks, but parking in the sidewalk. This morning there were six bikes parked on and blocking the sidewalk on S Street. I don’t know why users would do this, as there was a sidewalk buffer immediately adjacent with plenty of space for bike parking (though nothing to lock to). Get it together people! There is no excuse for this kind of parking. It is both rude and hazardous for people walking, particularly if they have mobility issues and can’t go around. I moved the bikes. Yes, they are heavy.

I have been finding a lot of dead GPS bikes, with no display and no lights on the GPS unit. I’m not sure if this is common, or I’m just adept at finding them. If you find a bike like this, that does not wake up when buttons are pressed, please report it to Sometimes they have lost track of these bikes, and sometimes they know the last location before the unit went dead, but it doesn’t hurt to report it.


JUMP Bikes representative Alex Hagelin made a presentation at the September 19 meeting of the Sacramento Active Transportation Commission (SacATC). Below are my notes from the presentation, and you can view it online at

JUMP Bike Share Update at SacATC 2018-09-26, agenda item 5

Alex Hagelin, Sacramento General Manger

  • Launched in May
  • 900 bikes by October
  • Metrics
    • 80% month to month growth
    • 350,000 miles
    • > 300,00 Lbs CO2 saved
    • 13,000,000 calories burned
    • Parking complaints about 0.3% of trips
    • (no stats on trips per bike)
  • Parking
    • > 600 bike racks within city, 300 racks pending review for placement
    • Gathered community input on locations 11,000 votes
  • Charging
    • 10 plus with SacRT light rail stations, additional locations at private businesses (due to electrical drop requirements)
  • Bike parking behavior change
    • 2-3 times more use of JUMP as compared to GoBike in San Francisco
    • Considering photo requirement that users would have to take a photo of their parking job
    • Education, carrots, sticks, response time
  • Community
    • Drafting equity plan, available soon
    • Boost membership, $5 per year for low income; Pay Near Me to allow cash addition to account
    • Participating in local events
  • Looking forward
    • Community outreach
    • Responsible and responsive vendor
    • Growth: new bikes, expanded service area
  • Questions/answers
    • Bike clubs complaining about rider skills
    • JUMP seeing people on bikes who are not regular riders
    • City talking to JUMP about what education will look like
    • Raised issues about where bikes are located, neighborhood equity
    • Asked about service area, north to American River, and south a ways, will need new hubs in these areas
    • Charging stations SacState, city college, SacRT, private property

new JUMP charging hub 8th & P

JUMP has added a new charging station at 8th St and P St, called ‘Capital Athletic Club Charging’. The charging hub is under the overhang to the right (south) of the entrance, NOT the traditional wave racks at the entrance. There are nine charging docks, three groups of three, at this location. This is the second charging hub in Sacramento, joining the one at Sac City College, near the light rail station entrance. This location was not a drop zone, so it represents an additional hub in a part of downtown that did not have a drop zone.

By the way, JUMP bikes had disappeared from the Transit app for about a week, but they are back. Apparently JUMP changed some things about how the data feed works, and it broke other apps that rely upon the JUMP feed.

JUMP charging station at Sac City College

I thought I was through with JUMP posts for at least the day, but then I got together with Claire who clued me into the new charging hub that has been installed at Sac City College. The station is on the outside of the fence at the light rail station (which may be SacRT property rather than college property, I’m not sure). This charging hub has ten docks. So far as I know, this is the first charging hub in Sacramento, though someone else we were talking to thought maybe there were charging hubs in Davis. If you know, please comment.

I have not used this hub, so I don’t know if bringing a low battery $ icon bike to the hub earns more than the standard 50 cent credit. Let me know!

I will try to get around to the other drop zone hubs in Sacramento this week to see if any of the others are now charging hubs. Comment is you have visited any of the hubs in the region and know.

Please see my previous post on charging hubs in San Francisco for details about what they look like and how they work.


JUMP users

I have heard many complaints from regular bicyclists and car drivers about JUMP bike riders. Since I spend a lot of my time paying attention to where the riders are and how they are riding, and I live in the central city where a large percentage of the usage is occurring (I live two blocks from the R Street corridor and three blocks from the 16th Street corridor), of course I have some perspective to offer.

Sidewalk riding: Is there a lot more sidewalk riding by JUMP riders? Well, I certainly see JUMP bikes on sidewalks, and it bothers me in part because JUMP bikes potentially go faster. However, I think the reason there are JUMPs on the sidewalk is because there a just more bike riders out. I don’t think JUMP riders are on sidewalks any more than any kind of bicycle. I fact, I’ve noticed a lot of JUMP riders in travel lanes on streets that don’t have bike lanes. Most bike riders avoid these roads, but because JUMP bikes are more able to keep up with traffic than the average bike rider, it seems like more are doing this. As SABA and many others have pointed out, most people riding on sidewalks are doing so because of their perception that the street is not a safe place to ride, and in many cases they are right. Probably a few are doing it out of habit, they learned to ride there and they continue to do so without thinking about whether and where that is appropriate, but again, the rate of sidewalk riding doesn’t seem any higher.

Parking: I hear complaints of bikes parked everywhere and blocking everything. Some of the comments are similar to those of people reacting to electric rental scooters in other cities, that civilization is ending and the sky is falling. But the more reasoned comments are worth considering. There are simply a lot more bikes needing to be parked than there were before. And there are not enough bike racks. The JUMP hubs are generally not in the most in-demand locations, but a block or two away, and so a lot of riders are parking exactly where they are going, and not at the hubs, sometimes on existing bike racks and frequently on sign poles and parking meters, and sometimes not locked to anything at all. On the whole, I see people parking JUMP bikes in appropriate locations. JUMP’s user agreement is that the bike be locked to something, and the City of Sacramento rule is that they must be locked to a bike rack (I’m not sure about West Sacramento and Davis). Very occasionally, I see a bike parked in such a way that it blocks pedestrians (both walkers and mobility devices). But this is rare.

I have been surprised by a recent trend, to lock a bike to nothing except itself (the lock mechanism locks the rear wheel, so it cannot be ridden, whether locked to anything or not). I’m seeing this even when there is something easy to lock to, right next to a bike rack or right next to a pole. Since the JUMP user agreement says the user is responsible for the bike unless it is locked to something. it surprises me that people would not lock to something when it is convenient or possible. I have not heard of any theft, but better safe than sorry. Yes, many types of bike racks are awkward to lock to, and pole and parking meters are not always easy to use.

If you do see a bike blocking pedestrian access, and you have some muscles, please move it! Yes, the bikes are heavy and not easy to move, but most people could move them a couple of feet to clear the sidewalk.

Riding skill: People who ride regularly are horrified by the skill of many of the JUMP riders. They have a point, there are a lot of unskilled riders, as many riders are people who don’t regularly ride bikes. They may not be handling it very well, particularly with the speed and acceleration. There are often riding in the wrong place on the road, which is in the travel lane if there is not a bike lane.

Traffic laws: I see JUMP riders not stopping at stop signs, and occasionally not at signals. But I don’t perceive that there is any difference between JUMP riders and other riders. And as always, I must point out that motor vehicle drivers run stop signs at a higher rate than bicyclists, though they also run red lights at a lower rate. Drivers have a perception that bicyclists always violate the law, and so they see what they expect to see, but they have a perception that drivers mostly follow the law (which is far, far from the truth), so they don’t see driver violations. Of course being on a bright red bike makes one more prominent.

Helmets: And last of all (added), people complain that JUMP users aren’t wearing helmets. I’ll keep this short, recognizing that even anything I say about helmets is likely to start a war with helmet trolls. There is no real evidence that helmets save lives. Yes, trauma nurse say so, but they only see the after-effects and know nothing about the causes. Yes, the ‘research’ of the helmet industry says so, but it has all been discredited. NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) has removed all reference to the ‘prevents 85% of head injuries’ statements because it turned out the research results that they cited were fabricated. I’ll accept the validity of helmets when pedestrians and motor vehicle drivers, who both have higher rates of head injuries, are also wearing them. If you are so concerned about the safety of bicyclist, then get cars off the road.

JUMP and Outside Lands in SF

I was in San Francisco the weekend of August 10-12, for a contra dance weekend. It was also the weekend of Outside Lands, one of the biggest music festivals in San Francisco, about 70K per day (I think Hardly Strictly Bluegrass is a bit bigger). JUMP set up a temporary hub in Golden Gate Park and encouraged people to ride to the festival rather than driving. The screen capture at right shows the cluster of bikes there at one point in time, 96 in the geofence and others nearby. I saw the number 147 at one point, but did not capture that one.

Since I did not go to Golden Gate Park (no person in their right mind would get close to Outside Lands if they were not attending), I don’t know what sort of parking they were using. Probably just lining the bikes up and using kick-stands, within a controlled and secure area, but this is a guess. I was unable to find any photos on the Internet.

The ironic thing about this is that I was unable to find any JUMP bikes to use in the rest of the city during the day. Of course in the evening many of those bikes came back into the neighborhoods, but during the day, pretty much no bikes anywhere. The SF system only has 250 bikes, and availability is never 100%, so almost all JUMP bikes in the city were in one single location. Sacramento, of course, does not have any events of comparable size, so I’m not sure whether JUMP would ever do this here, but it is an intriguing thing.

Ford GoBike did a similar parking offer in the park. Again, I was unable to find photos. GoBike is a dock system, requiring docks for the bikes, but in this case they may have just parked them without docks because it would be a major project to bring docks in, and remove them again. SF was not completely depopulated of GoBikes, though it was noticeable that there were fewer available. I used GoBike instead to get around, as my membership in GoBike has not expired yet. I got a membership way back when the system started, and renewed before JUMP showed up, though I doubt I will renew when it comes around.

JUMP kiosks in Santa Cruz

I was in Santa Cruz last weekend, which has the same JUMP system that we have here in the Sacramento region. Several of the hubs had kiosks installed, as shown to the right. The kiosk shows the map, the cost, how to rent a bike, and some safety tips. I am not sure whether Santa Cruz required these, or JUMP provided them on its own. I am not aware of any of these in the Sacramento region. I often see people standing by the JUMP bikes, looking confused. They are not quite sure how to check them out. I offer help, and it is much appreciated by most people. In fact, perhaps there should be bike-share ambassadors at heavily used locations. In Sacramento, many of the most heavily used locations are not the JUMP hubs, but regular bike racks, so I’m not sure where the ambassadors could best be located, but it is an idea.

Dock bike-share systems, such as Ford GoBike in San Francisco, have kiosks of some sort at all of their docking hubs. Most allow you to purchase passes, some just provide information, but all are oriented to help new users figure how the system works. Of course in San Francisco, a significant percentage of users are tourists who have not used the GoBike system, and may not have used bike share anywhere.

Do you think kiosks would help people here? Have you helped new or confused JUMP riders?

JUMP success!

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.

JUMP credit, in repair, count

If you pick up one of the $ icon bonus bikes in Sacramento and return it to one of the drop zone hubs, you actually have 15 minutes to park to receive the full credit. After 15 minutes, you are charged the regular minute rate. For example, if you took a $ bike and rode it for 30 minutes, you would get the credit of 50 cents, but subtracted from that would be 15 minutes times 7 cents (the per minute charge is not exactly 7 cents, but close enough), so $1.00 would be deducted, for a total of minus 50 cents. It is still a good deal, as compared to the $2.00 you would have paid otherwise, but returning low battery bikes to drop zone hubs is a good bike share community act, valuable regardless of the credit.

The threshold for bikes going into repair mode from low battery changed about a week ago. A $ icon bike no longer goes into repair mode all the time, but rather it depends on the battery level. I have not exactly pinned down at what battery level this is, but it is below the 35% level at which a bike gets the $ icon. I think it is about 25%, which I also think is the level at which the app shows ‘low’ instead of a percentage, but I need more observations to pin this down. At any rate, you still get the drop zone credit whether or not the bike goes into repair.

Since bikes will be available at lower battery levels than before, it becomes more important for the user to look at the battery level and determine whether there is enough to reach the destination. The GPS unit display shows battery level, but it is a little hard to determine exactly what it is, and the battery level may change as the GPS unit corresponds with the network. The app gives an exact level.

I heard from a JUMP staff that there are now 600 bikes in the region. Of course some are in the warehouse being charged and some are in repair mode, so there are always fewer available, but this is a significant increase over time from the initial 300.