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    India could 'Jump' onto Uber's e-scooters soon, but there's one big catch

    India could 'Jump' onto Uber's e-scooters soon, but there's one big catch

    India could 'Jump' onto Uber's e-scooters soon, but there's one big catch
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    By Jude Sannith   IST (Published)

    You’ve seen them if you’ve visited certain metropolises in the US, or even China and Singapore for that matter: the e-scooter — essentially a motorized skateboard, with a handlebar. It’s Uber’s next big bet in shared electric mobility in 16 American cities, and if the company has its way, its Jump scooters could soon ride into markets across the world.
    Jump’s proposed expansion plan will see Uber begin by marketing these scooters in Europe where countries, Jump’s founder and CEO, Ryan Rzepecki believes are “built for bicyclists and pedestrians”. Rzepecki founded Jump as Social Bicycles in 2017, before Uber acquired the company in 2018 and re-branded it to ‘Jump by Uber’.
    ‘Jump Scooters Can Work In India’
    As part of the expansion strategy, Jump hopes to eventually make a foray into India. “We’re very interested in the Indian market,” said Rzepecki, in an exclusive chat with CNBC-TV18, in Santa Monica. “I’ve had some conversations internally, and I think this (Jump Scooters) is something that can work there.”
    Jump’s foray, however, isn’t as straightforward as a launch usually is. “Infrastructure (in India) needs improvement over the next couple of years,” said Rzepecki, “But there’s definitely a need, especially with India’s huge transportation challenges and the fact that public transport systems are often very crowded.” Jump believes it is precisely this crowded public transport system which could push demand into “lighter modes” of transport, like its e-scooters.
    ‘Indian Regulatory Framework Could Follow America and Europe’
    Working on the launch will also see Jump having to lobby for a host of policy and infrastructural with Indian policymakers. But Rzepecki believes that won’t be a challenge given his company’s similar approaches in markets like the US and Europe.
    “E-scooters scaled up really quickly in China because there were no regulations, which led to an oversupply,” said Rzepecki, “In the US and to a lesser extent, in some European cities, there is a regulatory framework that allows a couple of players to operate and establishes a certain fleet size, with allowances for that fleet to grow over time. India will probably go down the same route.”
    Ultimately, Rzepecki feels the situation could boil down to whether or not India wants to go down the path of “80 percent car-ownership” as is the case with America — or promote alternative transport instead.
    Safety Concerns
    While Jump has been launching e-scooters across multiple American cities, these launches have not been bereft of controversy. Cities like Santa Monica and the larger Silicon Valley region have seen multiple residents complain that e-scooters pose a safety hazard to pedestrians and riders alike.
    Rzepecki admitted that while the concerns are genuine, these are still early days in the e-scooter space. “Introducing a new mode of transit will take time for people to adjust and interact with it,” he said, “We can do more to make safer vehicles, encourage safer riding and have driver awareness. These are still early days.”
    Controversy or not, the scooters have notched up some impressive numbers. Nearly 50 percent of its riders made their first e-mobility trip after being inactive for 60 days on the Uber app — pointing to the re-emergence an inactive user base. The scooters have also accounted for 55 percent of all Uber trips since launch, and average about seven trips, per bike per-day.
    A total of 625,000 trips have been notched up in San Francisco alone, with the city seeing 63,000 riders who made at least one trip on a Jump scooter.
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