Uber’s Jump Bikes still interested in Dublin but 2nd stationless bike share licence holder has till May to launch

— Jump Bikes came third place in fight for two licences.

— Due diligence not part of licensing as not a tender process, council said in FOI reply.
Dublin’s second bicycle share license could be up for grabs by Uber’s Jump Bikes and similar operators if the current holder does not launch by May, Dublin
City Council has confirmed.

The hybrid dockless licences offered by Dublin City Council included the requirement to lock bicycles to public bicycle stands to avoid clutter on footpaths as experienced in other cities.

Chinese firm Ofo, which also sought a license, expressed its annoyance with the locking requirement, but the Uber-owned Jump Bikes already runs hybrid systems using its electric shared bicycles.

The Jump Bikes bid was ranked third place in the licensing process last year, loosing out to Bleeper and Urbo, both Irish-owned.
Two operators, Urbo and Bleeperbike, which were successful bidding for a license, turned up to a PR launch bike share services at the end of May last year. But Urbo has since failed to put any bicycles on the capital’s streets. It told The Times that they would be launching last July, but it has yet to do so.

Urbo pulled out of a number of areas in London citing pressure from Chinese bicycle rental companies and issues with scaling its service, and then there was an ownership change shortly after it was supposed to launch in Dublin.

A Freedom of Information request submitted to the council by a third party with knowledge of the Jump Bikes bid shows there was no due diligence process because the council did not view the licensing as a tendering process.

“The issue of due diligence or tender price does not therefore apply”, the council said in the FOI response. The council did not reply directly to this and previously refused to comment on the rankings saying all the bidders were debriefed.

A spokeswoman for Dublin city council said: “The Council has been in further contact with Urbo and has agreed to hold its licence open until it expires in May 2019 to afford them every opportunity to commence operations.”

She added: “If operations do not commence the Council will re-advertise for licence applications  which will be assessed in a similar manner to the original applications. The Council continues to work closely with the other licence holder Bleeperbikes with a view to further enhancing  their services.”

Jump Bikes runs electric bicycle share services in Berlin and 16 cities in The United Stares, including San Francisco, New York, Los Angeles and Seattle. 

Hermione Randolph, a spokeswoman for Jump Bikes, said: “We hope to bring Jump to the UK and Ireland in the future, but have no immediate plans to do so. Over time it’s our goal to help people replace their car with their phone by offering a range of mobility options – whether cars, bikes, or public transport – all in the Uber app.”

Urbo did not respond to a number of requests for comment.

I am editor of IrishCycle.com and have reported on and commented on cycling in Ireland for over a decade. My background is in journalism -- I have a BA in Journalism from DCU and HDip in Print Journalism from BCFE. I wrote about cycling for national newspapers, and then started CyclingInDublin.com for overflow stories. Later the website was re-branded to reflect a more national focus.

3 Comments

  1. Fair play Cian. I wonder if the council’s contact with Urbo was tow-way?

  2. A little more on this here https://fora.ie/uber-stationless-bikes-4453027-Jan2019/ the fora article gave the impression they were ruling out electric bikes not just that they came third.

  3. It might be a fear of officials and so might the scale of Uber, but I can’t see anything in that Fora article which implies that they ruled out electric bicycles (I might be wrong?).

    The article outlines how the council won’t advertise or award a new license now. That makes sense given that — as above — the council have said that they are giving Urbo extra time to get on the streets.

    It’s kind of strange how little it mentions Urbo.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: