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Switch of mode has come much sooner than expected in Sacremento - other cities predicted to follow suit

Uber says that more people are now riding its Jump electric hire bikes in California’s capital, Sacramento, than are using its ride-sharing cars – with the speed in which the switch of mode has happened coming as a surprise to the company itself.

Jump, which is now active in 12 cities in the US and Germany, launched its dockless e-bike operation in the city, which is home to half a million people, in May last year.

When data relating to parts of the city served by both Jump and Uber were compared, it was discovered that bikes accounted for 53 per cent of trips and cars for 47 per cent.

Alex Hagelin, who heads the Jump Bike operation in the city, told the Sacramento Bee: “We were honestly surprised.

“Uber has been around for years, and in just five months, our bikes were generating more trips. This is the first time we have seen this in any of our cities to date.”

Jump was acquired by Uber in April 2018, and last August began providing electric scooters for hire alongside its bikes.

Discussing the acquisition last year, Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi said: “Individual transportation in cities should not be through cars, it should be through something else, and we want to be a part of figuring out what that mode is and we want to absolutely be a leader in that mode as well.

My guess is that 10 years from now, ride hailing is going to be less than 50 per cent of our business in terms of transactions.”

In the case of Sacramento, that prediction has come true far quicker than expected, and Uber, which operates Jump as well as its car service in 16 cities across the US, expects the pattern to be repeated in other markets too.

Last month, we reported how Uber and Jump are working on ‘self-riding’ versions of electric bikes and scooters – the idea being that they will be able to ride autonomously to charging points, or tow where people want to hire them.

Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.