SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – As Sacramento approaches its first anniversary as JUMP’s most successful market, city leaders are taking steps to avoid bike and scooter sharing problems plaguing other cities.
Sacramento is the first American city where JUMP bike rides outnumber shared rides offered by JUMP’s parent company, Uber.
Regular JUMP commuter Jaquien Gantt spends about a dollar each way to ride from his home to his job at the Golden 1 Center and appreciates the convenience of never having to walk far to find an available bike.
“They’re everywhere,” he said.
Many of the 500 JUMP bikes operating in Sacramento can be found locked to street signs, parking meters, or just locked to themselves on a sidewalk. In all of those cases, the riders are violating city regulations.
“You have to park them at a bike rack. You can’t just leave them on the street,” explained frequent JUMP user Taylor Jones.
Jones said she only became aware of the restriction when she received an email warning from JUMP after its fleet team discovered the bike parked improperly. Many other parking violations apparently go unnoticed by the company because other riders get to the bikes first.
The same rule applies to the new JUMP scooters, which currently number 50 in Sacramento.
Perhaps riders shouldn’t be blamed for the confusion. JUMP’s website offers conflicting advice for users. One portion of the “help” section says that riders only need to lock the bike “to a fixed object in a public space,” while another section says users must lock their bike to any bike rack in the system area.
A city report points to problems experienced when Seattle first rolled out dockless bike sharing and the transportation department found as many as 10 percent of the bikes were blocking pedestrian access on sidewalks.
In January, disability rights advocates sued the city of San Diego and two operators claiming shared scooters block access to sidewalks, curb ramps and other public spaces. San Francisco ordered the removal of all shared scooters from city streets while it develops a permitting process.
City of Sacramento transportation specialist Jennifer Donlon Wyant oversees the shared-rideable program and says the parking rules have been established to make sure the sidewalks are accessible for everyone.
“What we really want to do is maintain a culture of parking devices in designated parking areas so that our users with disabilities can travel throughout the city, so families with strollers can travel as well,” she said.
Donlon Wyant also pointed out bikes locked to poles and parking meters can interfere with utility boxes, fire hydrants and people trying to get out of their cars or property owners trying to maintain the mow strip between the sidewalk and the street.
With its revised ordinance, Sacramento plans to charge JUMP $104 per device annually for city staff to monitor parking. JUMP is already required to retrieve improperly-parked bikes within two hours of a complaint from the city.
Bikes or scooters found to be blocking public access could be assessed a $15 fine.
In its first year in Sacramento, JUMP was required to install 1.5 bike rack spaces per bike. Under the new ordinance, the requirement would be reduced to one space per bike while responsibility for adding bike parking would be shifted to city staff and charged to the shared-rideable operator. Operators would also be required to reimburse the city for lost parking meter revenue resulting from bike racks and hubs.
Donlon Wyant said staff would evaluate data provided by JUMP and any future shared-rideable operator to place new bike racks in places with the highest rider demand.
In written comments addressing the revised ordinance, a consortium of shared-rideable companies complained about the added fees and how the parking regulations would limit the convenience of users being able to start or end a ride at their home or other location without a public bike rack.
CBS13 reached out to Uber for its response to the proposed ordinance revisions to ask if the added fees and potential fines would be passed along to the riders. A spokesman said the company would decline comment.
The Sacramento City Council is expected to adopt the revised ordinance at its March 26 meeting.