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 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.

Jumping ahead (bike share update)

I rode a Jump e-bike in San Francisco yesterday. This was the first day that the program was open to the public, though there had been a low-income pilot going on for several months previously. The bright red (vermillion) bikes are pedal-assist. If you don’t pedal, they don’t go anywhere. But if you do, they really jump out. Though I haven’t ridden any really steep SF hills yet, the bike handled moderate hills with ease. I did ride most of the way across SF and back, and a chose a somewhat more hilly route than I normally would have.

Jump is operated by the company formerly known as Social Bicycles, so the GPS units and locking bar will be familiar to anyone that has used the Tower Bridge Preview bikes in Sacramento. The brakes are different, much stronger, as they should be for a bike that will go 25 mph. There are “gears,” but theses feel different with the pedal assist. The Jump system in SF is truly dockless, unlike the existing Sacramento system which is dock optional. There are no hubs or stations, the bikes can be locked at any bike rack within the system area. On the first day, the bikes were in clusters, with large areas uncovered, but they may become more dispersed over time. The coverage includes two of the lower income neighborhoods in SF, Bayview and Mission, so the user profile may be different than in Sacramento and for the existing Ford GoBike dock system in SF. There is a good article about Jump on SFgate: Jump rolls out San Francisco’s first stationless e-bike system.

The bikes must be recharged every few days, depending on use, and there are no charging stations at least so far, so rebalancing will probably be done as part of recharging. The company reported to me that they are considering hubs, but haven’t located any yet, pending data about use patterns. There seems to be a charging port on the right side of the bike below the handlebars, but it doesn’t look to me as though it was designed for docking/charging stations.

So, back to Sacramento. SACOG and partners have announced that the expanded system in the Sacramento region will use Jump e-bikes rather than the pedal bikes in the Tower Bridge pilot. It is not clear in the announcement whether the Sacramento system will be dockless or dock-optional. I think I prefer dock optional as more of the bikes will be in known locations, but with active rebalancing and recharging, dockless probably works.

The additional hubs (racks with geofences) that we were promised back in September are still not online yet, though most or all of the locations are installed. The most prominent lack is that there is still no hub at Sacramento Valley Station, even though that is the most common non-hub location where bikes get parked. With a May 15 promised opening of the different Jump system, I’m wondering if these other hubs will ever be online.

The 50 additional bikes arrived, though. They have black fenders and baskets. Unfortunately, the practical effect of the additional bikes has not been large. Before the new bikes, the Sacramento side had 20-25 bikes, and it now has 25-30 bikes, though it should have about 50. The bikes are often out of service, mostly due to gearing problems. If you have ridden the bikes, you’ve noticed that the gears slip on many of them. Sometimes this is just irritating, but sometimes it makes the bike unridable. Though this might be a maintenance issue, I suspect it is a design flaw.


The email I got when I joined Jump SF is below:

Hi Dan,

Thanks for joining JUMP SF!

Your account is now active!

Your account number is XXXXXX. Please store this number in a safe place as you will use it to access our e-bikes.

IMPORTANT SAFETY INFORMATION

JUMP is bike share–electrified. When riding the e-bike, start slowly to get familiar with its boost. You’ll feel motor assistance as you pedal. The harder you pedal the more boost you’ll feel. Be sure to try out the brakes to get a feel for stopping.

• JUMP brakes are powerful! Brake early – brake gradually.

• Ride slowly down steep hills.

• Use both brakes together at all times.

• Do not bike one-handed! Do not text while biking!

• Braking hard while riding one-handed is dangerous.

• If you are a heavier rider, ride cautiously down steep or long hills and keep your speed low. Weight limit: 210lbs.

STARTING YOUR RIDE

When you’re ready to take your first ride, enter your account number and PIN using the keypad on the back of the bike. Remove the gray U-bar and place it in the holster loops on the back left of the bike. Adjust the seat height and test your brakes.

PAYING FOR YOUR RIDE

JUMP bike rides cost $2 for the first 30 minutes and just $0.07/minute after that (plus applicable taxes). Your ride begins when you book a bike and ends when you lock a bike.

ENDING YOUR RIDE

At the end of your ride, lock the bike to a public bicycle rack within the designated system area. Bikes should always be visible from the street, and never parked on private property, in parking garages, or in parks. Improper bike locking fees may apply. If you’re ever unsure, check the system area map. Locking the bike outside of the SF system area will result in a $25 fee.

OUR BOOST

On a full charge our bikes can travel around 30 miles with pedal assist. While we do have teams regularly servicing our fleet, please understand that the bike you rent might not be at full charge. If you are riding a bike and the pedal assist runs out, please press the repair button on the bike’s keypad when ending your rental, and lock the bike to a bicycle rack. We will take care of it from there.

Please do not travel outside of the system area unless you are comfortable pedaling without the electric assist should the battery run out. Fees for retrieval of bikes due to low battery outside the system area may still apply.

RESERVING YOUR RIDE

You can walk up to a bike and check it out, or reserve one through the app. The clock starts ticking once the reservation is made. Bikes reserved in advance can be held for up to 10 minutes. Reservations will be canceled automatically if the bike is not unlocked within that time.

HOLD FEATURE

Need to make a short stop on your trip? The HOLD function guarantees that the e-bike is yours for up to 60 minutes. Press the “HOLD” button and lock the bike to a rack. Please note that reservation and hold time count toward your total minutes of riding time.

LINK CLIPPER CARD

You can link your Clipper card after unlocking the bike for the first time. Once unlocked, click Menu > Link Card > Start. Now hold the card directly up against the keypad buttons and wait for the screen to say “Success.” Next time you want to rent the bike, hold the card to the keypad to reserve.

For riding tips and safety information, please see our FAQ. We encourage all JUMP members to wear a helmet while riding. Don’t have one? Visit one of San Francisco’s many bike shops to pick one up, and if you’re a San Francisco Bicycle Coalition member, you can get 10-15% off!

You can learn more about our system and policies by reading our Rental Policy

Thank you again for joining. We think you will enjoy JUMP!

The JUMP SF Team

support@jumpbikes.com

where to have open streets in Sacramento?

a family on SF Sunday Streets - Embarcadero
a family on SF Sunday Streets – Embarcadero

Sacramento Area Bicycle Advocates (SABA) posted a question on Facebook, “Where shall we hold one in Sacramento?” about the Sunday Streets event this past Sunday on the Embarcadero in San Francisco. This echoes a conversation Alexis and I had while we were attending. She liked the Embarcadero Sunday Streets because it was a long distance and showed how streets can be used for transportation in a different way than we usually use them. For Sacramento, that would argue for a long distance closure that connects together destinations.

Though I certainly enjoyed this Sunday Street, I really like the two that I’ve been to in the Mission neighborhood of San Francisco, which close stretches of Valencia St and 24th St. This route is in a neighborhood, there are people living along the streets and in the neighborhood, as well as those who come from other places to enjoy. There are a multitude of locally-owned businesses to appreciate and engage, with nary a chain in sight. The special events such as play areas, climbing walls, hula hoops, dance demonstrations and others feel more concentrated rather than scattered out along a long route. For Sacramento, this argues for a midtown location, which is the only area where there is a sufficient concentration of residents and locally owned businesses. The Mission event is about community, and more like a street fair.

Embarcadero is more about transportation, and Mission is more about community. Sacramento, of course, could do both.

For more information about the flavors and locations of open streets events, see Open Streets Project. Check out the website for background information including “models”, and then go to one! Of course San Francisco is the easiest for us here in the Sacramento region, but Berkeley will also be having one or more this year, and as you’ll see, they are becoming common on the west coast, throughout the United States, and the world.

The next San Francisco event is on April 14, and is in the Mission neighborhood which I’ve referred to above, on Valencia St and 24th St. Don’t miss it! And bring back your thoughts and commitment to making it happen in Sacramento.

Alexis and I volunteered at the event as intersection monitors. Once you’ve been to an event, you can consider volunteering, which provides a different perspective. Though I was initially assigned to an quiet intersection where there was nothing much to do, I got moved to a lively intersection, The Embarcadero and North Point, where the F streetcar line crosses The Embarcadero at an angle, and there was a lot to do, stopping the walking-biking-rolling crowd as the streetcar came through, keeping people out of the dedicated streetcar lane, and talking to people about how to safely cross tracks.

I wrote more about the Sunday Streets Mission events I attended last year.

San Francisco Sunday Streets

Roller dancers at SF Sunday Streets

Bicyclists, walkers, skaters, families, bands, food, fun physical activity, welcoming businesses, community organizations, craziness! And no cars. What more could you ask for?

It was my pleasure to find myself in San Francisco on Sunday, July 1, for Sunday Streets. I was in the bay area to visit friends, and just happened to notice on Streetsblog that there was a Sunday Streets event. I’ve heard about these but never participated, and really looked forward to it. At 11AM, not too much was happening, a few people wandering and many people setting up, but by 1PM, that place was hopping, with so many people that it was sometimes difficult to keep moving. But that isn’t a bad thing. The 11 blocks of Valencia Street and 12 blocks of 24th Street in the Mission District of San Francisco (south of downtown) were blocked off to car traffic, though some cross-streets were open to cars.

Continue reading “San Francisco Sunday Streets”

Two-waying streets in SF

StreetsBlog San Francisco had an interesting article yesterday about the conversion of one-way streets to two-way streets, SFMTA Brings Humane, Two-Way Traffic Back to Ellis and Eddy. This is an idea I’ve mentioned before for midtown, but haven’t posted any details yet, and still am not ready yet. But this article builds the justification.

The conversion was the result of an extensive community transportation study, which is detailed at http://www.sfcta.org/content/view/312/159/. The most interesting quote I found in a brief reading of the materials is:

“Much of the auto traffic impacting the Tenderloin is not local traffic. The neighborhood’s unique location adjacent downtown results in large volumes of through traffic to and from the Bay Bridge, the Financial District, and other areas of the City. Many of the roads are designed as auto-oriented, high-capacity facilities, with multiple lanes and one-way configurations. The residents of the area have expressed a strong desire to see the neighborhood’s streets become more livable by shifting the balance away from maximizing auto throughput toward an improved environment for pedestrians and public transit. Slowing traffic speeds or ‘traffic calming’ through the neighborhood is one way to achieve this goal.”

Sound familiar?

There are a number of other great recommendations. Take a read, both of the StreetsBlog post and the underlying study.