I was in San Francisco the last two days, and used the JUMP system to familiarize myself with the drop zones there, the ones marked as a green lightning bolt. First, the only drop zone with charging racks is at the Bluxome Street warehouse location, as it was before. The other eight drop zones are just regular bike racks, meant to accumulate bikes that have low batteries and are about to go into repair mode, so that they can be picked up more easily for recharging. A person at the Bluxome warehouse confirmed that the other drop zone hubs were not charging hubs, said they were planned to be eventually, but didn’t know when.
The credit for returning a low battery bike (with $ icon) to a drop zone is offered as ‘up to’ $6, and the two bikes I returned both earned that $6 credit. I’m rich! Well, rich in bike share credits.
And, to repeat what I’ve already said, the difference between 20 mph (SF) and 15 mph (Sacramento) is significant. At 20 mph, I can keep up with traffic on most streets. Of course having bike lanes and separated bikeways that are present on more and more streets in downtown, and lane splitting when necessary to avoid congestion, makes a huge difference as well. In afternoon rush hour traffic yesterday, I rode to two destinations that would have taken me about five times as long in a car, because the traffic was crawling, and sometimes not even that, and I was zooming. Bikes, and bike share!
I also did a single bike count, 3:00PM on Tuesday, and there were 162 bikes out of a possible 250 bikes available in San Francisco, an availability rate of 65%. It would be interesting to do more counts, but I don’t have the time.
It is hard to come back to Sacramento heat after two days in San Francisco cool.
New in the JUMP app within the last few days (thanks Matt for noticing) are drop zones, marked with a green lightning bolt icon. I thought these might be charging hubs, promised for ‘some day’, but they are drop zones, just regular JUMP system racks (exclusive JUMP racks and other racks that were part of the SoBi system). I checked three of the 12 racks on the Sacramento side, and none are charging racks. This makes me question the assumption I made that the green hubs in San Francisco are charging hubs; they may also be just drop zones. I’ll be in SF tomorrow and will report.
The purpose of the drop zone hubs is to accumulate bikes that need charging so that it is easier for JUMP staff to locate them and return them to the West Sacramento warehouse for charging. The city hall hub had five ‘in repair’ (very low battery) bikes parked there this afternoon, so the idea is working to at least some degree.
JUMP is offering an incentive of 50 cents for returning a low battery bike (shown as a $ icon) to a drop zone hub. I did this twice this afternoon, and got the promised 50 cent credit on my account. If you tap on the drop zone hub, it says “Bring a bike with a ‘$’ icon to this drop-off zone. The trip will be free and you will get up to $6.00 in credit.” If you tap on a $ bike, it only offers $0.50, so I assume that is the default and only value for the JUMP Sacramento region, at least at this time.
I finally got a clarification of why I was seeing $ icons in my app, and other people were not. I am a member of both the San Francisco and Sacramento systems, so my membership in the SF system causes these $ to show up. Of course now everyone should be seeing the $ icons and drop zone icons in their app, even if they only have a Sacramento membership.