Uber Preps Its App to Handle Bike, Scooter Sharing
New Mode Switch feature lets users toggle between different transportation options.
Uber plans to include bicycles and scooters as additional transportation options alongside ride-hailing. Laying the groundwork for that is a new feature for the Uber app called Mode Switch, which allows users to toggle between cars, bikes, and scooters.
Mode Switch does exactly what the name suggests. In cities where Uber offers other services beyond ride-hailing, users will see a button on the app's home screen that allows them to switch from ride-hailing to bike or scooter rentals. Uber hasn't rolled out any two-wheeled services in most cities yet, but preemptively launching Mode Switch could make things go more easily when when those services launch.
Uber currently operates a pilot bike-sharing service in San Francisco through Jump, the electric-bike startup it acquired earlier this year. The service has proven more popular than expected, with some bike trips replacing ride-hailing car trips, Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi wrote in a blog post.
Jump was also recently awarded a permit to rent electric scooters in Santa Monica, as was Uber rival Lyft. The two companies displaced startups Bird and Lime, which had been operating in the city but made a bad first impression with officials by launching their services without asking permission first. Uber is investing $35 million in Lime, and plans to rent the startup's scooters through its own app, presumably in other cities.
Bike and scooter sharing has become another area of competition for Uber and Lyft. While Uber continues to dominate Lyft in ride-hailing, Lyft recently acquired Motivate, the largest bike-sharing operators in the United States. The smaller ride-hailing company also just launched a scooter-sharing service in Denver.