June 6, 2018 / 8:50 AM / 3 months ago

Uber jumps into European bicycle-sharing market

June 6 (Reuters) - Ride-hailing company Uber said on Wednesday it would launch electric bicycle sharing service JUMP Bikes, which it bought last month, in Europe as it seeks to expand into other transportation modes and make peace with local authorities.

Uber agreed to buy the start-up in April in an attempt to be a truly multi-modal transport service.

"The team is working hard to bring JUMP to Berlin by the end of this summer and we also plan to launch in additional cities across Europe in the coming months," said Uber Chief Executive Dara Khosrowshahi at a conference in Berlin.

"We’re particularly excited about bikes because they can provide a convenient, environmentally friendly ride even in dense cities where space is limited and roads can be congested."

Uber is looking to be the go-to app for urban transportation options, be it buses, bikes or cars, allowing people to book trips across a range of services.

Uber has faced a rough ride in Europe, where protests by traditional taxi drivers have in the past turned violent and court bans have forced it to shut down some of its services.

Additionally, Uber and other ride-hailing companies have been accused of causing congestion in major cities like London.

Uber, which is battling a decision by London's transport regulator last September to strip it of its licence after it was deemed unfit to run a taxi service, has started sharing data about its millions of trips with London in a bid to help tackle congestion.

Khosrowshahi said the company planned to launch a fully electric Uber Green service in Berlin by the end of the year, following its launch in Munich.

"Uber stands ready to help address some of the biggest challenges facing German cities: tackling air pollution, reducing congestion and increasing access to cleaner transportation solutions," he said.

Khosrowshahi said in January he was focused on "responsible growth" as he seeks to put an end to the take-no-prisoners culture he inherited upon joining the pioneer of ride-hailing services last year.

JUMP bikes are unlocked and locked using a smartphone app. Because they are dockless, they can be left at any public bike rack, eliminating a lot of the infrastructure cost other bike-share companies incur, and their location is tracked via GPS.

JUMP is part of the bike-sharing phenomenon that made its way to the United States after sweeping through China. (Reporting by Julia Fioretti Additional reporting by Heather Somerville in San Francisco Editing by Chris Reese)

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