JUMP, owned by Uber, brings even more scooters to Baltimore

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Photo courtesy of JUMP/Uber

If Lime, Bird and Spin weren’t enough for the thousands of e-scooter riders traversing Baltimore’s streets and sidewalks, there’s yet another option in town starting today.

JUMP, owned by ride hailing app Uber, began deploying its bright red scooters in the city today. The company is planning to bring a fleet of 300 of them to town over the next several days. It’s also going the opposite direction of Bird by trying to undercut the competition on price, making them free to start and $0.15 per minute to ride thereafter.

The company also has a small leg up on its competitors in that a fair share of Baltimoreans already have the app needed to rent the scooters, as users can check them out via Uber. You can reserve one ahead of time via the app, or walk up and claim it by scanning a QR code with your smartphone.

Baltimore is among 10 cities, including D.C., Los Angeles, Dallas and Austin, with JUMP scooters for rent.

The service’s launch here comes with three weeks left in Baltimore’s dockless transit pilot program, during which the city is letting private companies rent out regular old bikes, electric-assisted ones and e-scooters without fixed docking stations.

Lawmakers have drawn up rules and regulations, with plans to tax the two-wheelers for $0.10 a ride, limit speeds and parking in certain areas and fine—not jail, thankfully—users $20 for lesser infractions like unlawful parking or operation. Penalties are heftier for the companies, with $1,000 fines if they don’t follow through on sharing agreed-upon user data with the city, $500 for not removing the scooters from streets and sidewalks during specified hours, and more.

Council members preliminarily approved those limits last month, but must still give the bill final approval at an upcoming meeting.

The Baltimore City Department of Transportation kicked off the pilot program with Bird and Lime (also backed with Uber money) last summer, and brought Spin and JUMP into the fold in February.

As with many cities, some locals have complained the scooters and dockless bikes are obtrusive or present safety risks for pedestrians and users themselves. The trade-off: DOT noted in a pilot evaluation report published last month that they’re much more financially accessible means of transport for the 30 percent of city households lacking access to a car. And they’re also helping to reduce auto congestion and pollution, in line with city priorities.

Ethan McLeod
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