Sacramento bike share update

There are a number of new white and green Lime bikes on the street in Sacramento. There are not the easy-to-steal white and green ones of a few months ago, some of which were promptly stolen and the others quickly pulled from service. Though they still seem to be called Gen 4 bikes, they now have a cable lock very similar to those used on scooters. I have seen more of these bikes downtown/midtown than elsewhere. See photo.

Lime bike cable lock

There continue to be red JUMP/Lime bikes on the street. I had the impression that there were fewer of these bikes than there used to be, but it may be that they are just being distributed differently. I’ve seen racks (the old SoBi/JUMP racks) full of these bikes, which had not had more than one or two bikes since the return of bike share. Lime does not make its GBFS (General Bikeshare Feed Specification) available to the public, nor does it have a map of bike share other than in the app, so it is difficult to say whether the bikes are being appropriately distributed/balanced.

While looking to see if there was a web map, I ran across an interesting ArcGIS Story Map from the City of Sacramento, Shared-Rideables in Sacramento. It was created in January 2022, and has not been updated, but is quite interesting.

Lime still seems to be failing to track and pick up dead bikes. By dead, I mean that the battery has run down to the point that it no longer powers the GPS unit, so Lime loses track of where these bike are. Several months ago there were a number of these bikes, reported to both Lime and the city, but not picked up after three weeks. Lime promised to me and to the city to do better. However, recently there were two bikes parked on the pathway from Sacramento Valley Station to the platforms for more than five days. Bike parked anywhere other than in very visible location on the street network do not get picked up for significant periods of time.

I used a Lime bike (white and green) Saturday without incident, returning from a trip. But on my outbound trip, using Lime/JUMP bikes, when I was on a tight schedule, I had no luck finding a bike that worked properly. The first one was stuck in first gear. The second had no pedal assist. The third had a jammed seat post that could not be adjusted. I managed to make the train on time, but barely. The bikes are simply not being maintained as they should be. I have noticed that if I report a problem, though the app, the bike is still there days later, and still rentable by another victim.

When reporting a bike problem, the app provides a limited number of issues (below), and no longer provides a text field for entering detail. The diagram says pedals, but there is no indication here or anywhere whether than means a problem with the pedals or cranks, or means problem with the pedal assist.

Lime app, problem report screen

One feature that was added to the app a few months ago that I really like is that the user can select scooters only, or bikes only, or both, for map display.

The app seems to show whether the bike in question is one of the new white and green ones or the older red Lime/JUMP bikes with the fabric covered locking cable. I’ve said before and will say again that it was a mistake for JUMP to drop the U-bar lock mechanism used on the SoBi and early JUMP bikes. So far as I know, a properly locked bike with U- bar was never was stolen.

Lime fails on bike share

Below is a photo of a Lime/JUMP bike that has been abandoned for three weeks now, parked on my street, P Street, between 13th St and 12th St. It has been reported to the city, twice, and to Lime, three times. And it is still there. Of course the battery has depleted so that GPS no longer works. But Lime knows the last reported location of the bike, before it died.

Let me be clear and blunt. Lime does not give a shit.

This kind of neglect will continue until: 1) the city (and SACOG) holds Lime accountable for managing the bike share fleet, 2) the city or the region gets a real bike share operator, or 3) the city or the region changes to a publicly owned system. The third option is probably the best, because then the city and/or region can manage the bike share system as part of the transportation network, and SacRT can take on some responsibility for the bike share system as a first mile/last mile solution with transit.

JUMP charging hubs

Someone asked me recently about the locations of JUMP bike charging hubs in Sacramento. There are 18 on the map below, and one new on on 19th Street just north of Q Street, at the Q19 Apartments development. I captured this map from the JUMP bikes website, which took a little doing.

JUMP bike charging hubs in Sacramento

I recently took photos of all the hubs I could find, and they are part of the Sac bike-share album at https://www.flickr.com/photos/allisondan/albums/72157713653167982. I was able to locate only one of the three hubs shown for Sacramento City College. It may be: 1) I just couldn’t find the other two (they are much harder to see at this time since they don’t have any bright red bikes in them), or 2) they are not charging hubs but regular bike racks, or 3) they are located where construction is going on and are inaccessible or removed. All the rest of them have at least one photo in the album.

So far as I know, there are no charging hubs in Davis, nor in West Sacramento (which shown on the map as part of Sacramento).

When you actually rent a bike, the app shows the location of these hubs, but with no bikes to rent (the system is currently shut down, in case you had not heard), I can’t see what the live map shows. But other than the one new one, I think this map is accurate. Let me know if you know otherwise.

JUMP on Monday, August 6

We counted throughout the day of Monday, August 6, and generated the following data table and gif animation. Monday was not necessarily a typical weekday, as the middle days of the week may be more typical, and it was not a typical use day because the air quality was unhealthy for a portion of the day. The gif animation focuses on Sacramento central city. It is not possible to present much larger areas without losing icon and count detail.

JUMP_2018-08-06

JUMP count update 2018-08-04

There are clearly more bikes on the street now than at last count posting, but I’m not sure how many. The rumor was 100 more bikes in this last week, and 100 more in the week before, but so far I’ve not been able to get anyone to confirm or deny those numbers. If true, that would make a total of 500 bikes in the region. Since the total possible is not known, we can’t say what the availability percentage is. When there were 300 bikes possible, the percentage available ranged up to 56%, but I think that staffing is now catching up with demand and the percentage available may be ranging up to 74%.

I am curious about whether there is an industry standard for the availability of bikes. Since I am pretty sure that JUMP has the vast majority of electric assist bikes in service, and none of the electric bike share systems are very old, I have not been able to find any information. It is worth remembering that electric assist bike share did not even exist in 2016, and the NACTO 2017 bike share report does not mention electric assist bikes at all. This report was released May 2018, so the next report is months away. Of the bike share systems, the only ones with electric assist, so far as I know, are JUMP (dock-optional), Motivate (which operates most of the dock systems in the US), and LimeBike (dockless). I have seen a few Ford GoBike (a Motivate system) electrics in SF, but have not had the opportunity yet to ride one.

There are a number of people returning bikes to the drop zone (green) hubs, either for the 50 cent credit or out of the goodness of their hearts, and I think that is helping keep more bikes out on the streets because it makes it easier for JUMP staff to find and load these for West Sacramento to be charged. It is more likely now that hubs will actually have bikes available because charged bikes are being returned to hubs more frequently.

I was out last night returning low battery bikes to hubs (in between beers), and I saw about 80 bikes in use in various parts of the central city. I also saw ‘in repair’ (low battery) bikes being picked up by JUMP staff at the 17th & R drop zone, at about 10:00 at night, so there is real effort now to keep up with charging.

A caveat about all counts: These counts are done by hand by Dan, and Matt who is now helping, and of course they will not be 100% accurate. In fact, in the time it takes to count the bikes in the app, the numbers have changed, particularly at those times of day when a lot of bikes are in motion, commute hours and going out in the evening hours.

2018-08-04 10:00AM

  • Sacramento: 207 bikes, 94 in hub and 113 out of hub
  • West Sacramento: 57 bikes, 35 in hub and 22 out of hub
  • Davis: 50 bikes, 21 in hub and 29 out of hub
  • Total: 316 bikes

2018-08-02 6:46AM

  • Sacramento: 248 bikes, 125 in hub and 123 out of hub
  • West Sacramento: 59 bikes, 29 in hub, 30 out of hub
  • Davis: 58 bikes, 20 in hub, 38 out of hub
  • Total: 369 bikes (this is the largest number available that we have seen to date)

2018-07-31 6:22AM

  • Sacramento: 187 bikes, 94 in hub and 93 out of hub
  • West Sacramento: 50 bikes, 33 in hub and 17 out of hub
  • Davis: 67 bikes, 26 in hub and 41 out of hub
  • Total: 304 bikes

2018-07-30 1:41PM

  • Sacramento: 108 bikes, 46 in hub and 62 out of hub
  • West Sacramento: 33 bikes, 23 in hub and 10 out of hub
  • Davis: 52 bikes, 17 in hub and 35 out of hub
  • Total: 193 bikes (this afternoon low probably indicates both bikes in motion and ones that are ‘in repair’ low battery)

2018-07-30 6:17AM

  • Sacramento: 127 bikes, 76 in hub and 51 out of hub
  • West Sacramento: 32 bikes, 15 in hub and 17 out of hub
  • Davis: 55 bikes, 21 in hub and 34 out of hub
  • Total: 215 bikes

2018-07-28 6:30AM

  • Sacramento: 162 bikes, 62 in hub and 100 out of hub
  • West Sacramento: 37 bikes, 19 in hub and 18 out of hub
  • Davis: 30 bikes, 17 in hub and 13 out of hub
  • Total: 229 bikes

2018-07-27 6:30AM

  • Sacramento: 155 bikes, 75 in hub and 80 out of hub
  • West Sacramento: 35 bikes, 16 in hub and 19 out of hub
  • Davis: 45 bikes, 11 in hub and 34 out of hub
  • Total: 240 bikes (this is the first count that I think indicates the total bikes are now above 300)

JUMP count

July 19, 11:30PM (picked as a time when most bikes are parked, not traveling):

  • Sacramento, 68 bikes out of hub, 18 bikes in hubs, 5 bikes out of service area, total 91 bikes in service.
  • Davis, 37 bikes out of hub, 7 bikes in hubs (2 hubs), 1 bike out of service area, total 45 bikes
  • West Sacramento, 19 bikes out of hub, 2 bikes in hub, 0 bikes out of service area, total 21 bikes
  • total 157 bikes

July 20, 7:30AM (picked as a time when recharged bikes may have been distributed, though bikes will be traveling)

  • Sacramento, 63 bikes out of hub, 22 bikes in hubs, 5 bikes out of service area, total 90 bikes
  • Davis, 33 bikes out of hub, 7 bikes in hub, 1 bike out of service area, total 41 bikes
  • West Sacramento, 18 bikes out of hub, 2 bikes in hub, 1 bike out of service area
  • total 152 bikes

July 20, 11:00AM (picked as after the commute rush and before the lunch rush, though there are certainly bikes traveling)

  • Sacramento, 61 bikes out of hub, 10 bikes in hubs, 5 bikes out of service area, total 76 bikes
  • Davis, 36 bikes out of hub, 7 bikes in hub, 1 bike our of service area, total 41 bikes
  • West Sacramento, 5 bikes out of hub, 5 bikes in hubs, zero bikes out of service area, total 10 bikes
  • total 130 bikes

I am not able to compile these kind of statistics on a regular basis, but perhaps we (the users) could pick a few times of day and crowd-source the data.

JUMP hub count

JUMP is gradually adding hubs to the system. As of today, the counts I see are:

  • Davis: 3
  • West Sacramento: 7
  • Sacramento: 60

In Sacramento, the number of hubs exceeds the number of bikes available. at least at certain times of day. The city requirement was two rack spaces, not the JUMP ‘wave’ racks only, but also regular racks, per bike. The hubs have between four and twelve bike spaces, at least the ones I’ve visited. The number of available bikes as of this moment (8:30PM, 2018-07-02) is 51, but I’m sure there are bikes in motion. I saw five bikes being ridden while out on my evening walk.

People have been asking me questions about the bike share system, and pointing out that I have mixed feelings. Yes, that is true. I think it has the power to transform transportation in Sacramento, but is falling short at the moment. I am traveling and backpacking this summer, only occasionally in town, so it probably will not be until mid-August that I’ll have much to say about the system.

Remember, you can always comment on my posts (if you have commented before and been accepted, you comment will automatically get added, if not, I approve, or very rarely disapprove, as soon as I can). If you have written something, you can submit a link to that. Of, if you have more ambition, you can write your own posts for consideration for Getting Around Sacramento. I don’t want my voice to the the only voice.

 

Bike share is booming

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 support@jumpbikes.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 support@jumpbikes.com 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.

a day in the life… of bike share

I saw a cool graphic of the flow of JUMP bike share bikes in San Francisco, and thought is would be interesting to do the same for Sacramento. The effect is not so dramatic, but it is interesting. I have zeroed in on the central city, which of course only tells part of the story, but this is the level at which bike and hub icons show, whereas the next zoom out only shows them as dots. I’d like to do this for a weekday as well, but probably won’t have the chance for several weeks, as I’m out of town.

The first one is Saturday, at a few points in time, the second one is Sunday, at three hour intervals. Maybe like watching paint dry, maybe better.

JUMP_Sac-map_2018-06-09

 

JUMP SF and Sac bikes

There are at least two San Francisco bikes in Sacramento, and I’ve come across them and ridden them. The most obvious, though subtle, difference is that the SF bikes have eight gears and the Sacramento bikes three, as befits the terrain. The shifting direction is reversed.

Since I rode these bikes on the same day that I rode Sacramento bikes, I could compare them directly, and the feeling I’d had when I’d ridden them several days apart turned out to be accurate. The bikes accelerate the same, but once reaching top speed of 15 mph for Sacramento bikes and 20 mph for San Francisco, the Sacramento bikes drop out of assist roughly, and continue to go in and out of it, surging and bogging down. The San Francisco bikes have a smooth transition, noticeable, but much smoother, going from assist to not in a comfortable manner.

The Sacramento bikes make a lot more noise than the San Francisco bikes. Sometimes people turn their head to look. Though I don’t know for sure, I suspect this is the result of whatever was implemented to limit the Sacramento bikes to 15 mph, which is not their design speed but a limitation imposed by the City of Sacramento. I’m concerned that the bikes may actually be damaged by this. I do know that when mechanical devices make a lot of noise, it is not a good sign.

I continue to believe that the 15 mph limitation was unnecessary and inappropriate.