Montrealers now have an electric bike-sharing service to add to their cocktail of mobility choices.Uber’s Jump e-bikes officially launched their service Wednesday morning, distributing their distinctive bright red bikes on racks throughout the city.Unlike Montreal’s popular Bixi system of shared bikes, the Jump bikes are dockless, meaning they can be picked up and left anywhere, as long as they are affixed to a bike rack with a retractable lock included with the bike. Users who fail to do so face warnings, fines of $25 and a possible ban from renting.Uber’s Jump electric bicycles available for rent in MONTREAL, as of today. These ones spotted on Lachine Canal bike path west of Atwater. Uber to make official announcement at 10 am. pic.twitter.com/pcI3u95fjx— Rene Bruemmer (@ReneBruemmer) June 26, 2019Users can use the Uber app on their smartphone to find nearby bikes and unlock them. The bikes cost 30 cents per minute to ride, or $9 for half an hour. The company best known for its car-sharing taxi service would not say exactly how many bikes it intends to distribute on the streets of Montreal, with spokesman Jean-Christophe de Le Rue putting the number at “hundreds.” Their Griffintown warehouse put the number at roughly 600.“Montreal is the first Canadian city to receive the Jump e-bikes. I would say it’s because of the openness of Mayor Valérie Plante,” de Le Rue said. “These bikes are pedal-assisted electric, so you have to pedal, but there’s a motor that helps you go faster or go uphill. They go max 32 kilometres an hour, and it’s mandatory to wear a helmet.”
Uber launched their Jump e-bikes, a dockless electric-bike sharing service, in Montreal on Wednesday, June 26, 2019. Montreal Gazette reporter René Bruemmer test drove one and found it easy to use.
Dave Sidaway /
Helmets are not supplied with the bikes, but the company is distributing several hundred for free. Fines for riding an electric bike without a helmet in Quebec range from $60 to $100.A trial run for journalists showed that the bikes are easy to use and easy to pedal. Bikes parked along the Lachine Canal bike path drew a steady stream of interested standard cyclists. They also drew unwanted urban attention — at least one of the red bikes had been tagged by vandals with a spray-paint can within an hour of the official launch.Jump’s prices are higher than Bixi’s, which cost $2.95 per half-hour to operate, and far less for those with memberships. Jump’s price reflects that e-bikes can go farther distances faster, de Le Rue said.With micromobility services like bike and scooter sharing growing more popular, Montreal recently changed its regulations to allow unregistered, self-service bike companies to operate in the city. Quebec is expected to alter its highway traffic code soon to allow electric scooter-sharing systems, which have proven even more popular than bicycle sharing in some U.S. cities. An e-scooter sharing service is set to launch in Montreal and Westmount in early July as well. City officials hope their regulations will offset the shared-scooter chaos that has afflicted U.S. and European cities. Uber officials would not comment Wednesday on whether their Jump e-scooters will be coming to the city this summer.Jump plans to roll out its e-bikes in the downtown core and in neighbouring boroughs to start, including Plateau-Mont-Royal, Mercier-Hochelaga, Rosemont—La-Petite-Patrie, Villeray-St-Michel-Park-Extension, Côte-des-Neiges-Notre-Dame-de-Grâce, Verdun, Outremont and the Sud-Ouest. Under Montreal’s new regulations, the company could face fines of up to $2,000 if city workers have to remove wayward bikes, and the company will have to pay licensing fees of up to $27,500. The bikes will be available till Nov. 15.Uber Jump rents e-bikes in roughly 20 cities, mainly in the U.S. Electric bike-sharing services are relatively rare so far in Canada, with Lime offering bikes in Calgary, and pilot projects are being run in cities like North Vancouver.Related
Bixi general director Christian Vermette said last month the company is “confident Bixi will maintain its position because our members have indicated a 95-per-cent satisfaction rate.” He added, however, that the encroachment of companies like Jump and Lime will have a financial impact on Bixi.With 7,250 bikes, 600 docking stations in 16 of the city’s 19 boroughs and prices as low as 42 cents for all-day usage for members, Vermette said customers will remain loyal.Bixi ran a pilot project to test its own electric bikes to favourable reviews last summer and is awaiting the city’s decision on whether it will continue with the email@example.com
Montrealers check out Jump e-bikes, newly available in Montreal.
Dave Sidaway /