The City of Santa Cruz recently struck a partnership with electric bike
maker, JUMP bikes, to provide affordable, electric-assist bike rentals
throughout the city. After a successful trial run in San Francisco, the Uber-
owned company brought the service to Santa Cruz, where it seems to be
quite popular already.
The bright red bikes have a built-in lock and a battery that lasts roughly 40 miles, as well as a basket, cup holder, and adjustable seats. No helmet is provided so you’ll need to bring your own if you plan to ride safely on one of the 250 bikes currently in operation at 27 stations around town. The cost is $1 for the first 15 minutes, and 7 cents for each additional minute.
Alternatively, you can buy a monthly pass for $30 that allows you up to one hour of riding time daily with standard rates applying thereafter.
One of the key benefits of the new program is that the bikes do not have to be returned to where they were initially picked up. You can rent a bike in Midtown and ride it to the Westside and drop it off at a station in that part of town. While they can be ridden outside of the city limits, there is a hefty fee that goes along with doing so. You can also put a bike on hold if you intend to use it later so that it’s reserved and cannot be rented by other users.
The JUMP bikes are not fully electric, but they do provide a substantial
boost in power, which can be helpful when riding up some of the steeper
hills in town. If you just want to get where you’re going more quickly, the
JUMP bikes can reach speeds of close to 20 miles per hour.
To rent a JUMP bike, you must be at least 18 years old and download the
app, which allows you to pay with your credit card. The bikes can be
returned to any bike share station and they can also be locked up in a
standard bike rack. The bikes do not have to be returned to a station, but
there is a $1 charge if they are not. Each bike is equipped with a GPS
tracker that maps your ride and the app notifies you of the nearest station
when you’re done using it.
Part of the appeal of the electric bikes is that they provide an alternative to not just driving, but taking your own bike and leaving it unattended. With bike theft being such a major problem in Santa Cruz, renting a bike is a pleasant alternative for many people.
The JUMP bikes present quite a challenge for would-be bike thieves.
There are no removable parts, they can’t be operated without paying, and
they have a self-contained locking mechanism. Another factor is that they
weigh close to 70 pounds so trying to move one of them while it’s not in
operation would be difficult.
While the bike share program is just getting started in Santa Cruz, the early feedback appears to be mostly positive. It’s hard to miss the bright red bikes on the road and they’re popping up more and more frequently. With summer not far off, there will no doubt be plenty of people eager to try out the new bikes. The program was successful enough in San Francisco that there’s already plans to expand from 250 bikes to 500; something that could potentially happen in Santa Cruz if there’s enough demand.
Santa Cruz Biking Resources
Local Bike Resources - The website for the Santa Cruz County Regional
Transportation Commission has a wealth of information about local bike
services and resources for riders, including maps of bike lockers and other bike oriented programs in the city.
Bike Santa Cruz County - A local bicycle advocacy group, Bike Santa Cruz
County works to make the community more bike friendly and support
initiatives that make the roads safer for bicyclists.