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.

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 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 drop zones in San Francisco

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.

JUMP drop zones for Sacramento

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.

in repair (very low battery) bikes at city hall hub

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.



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.