If you’ve tried to rent a Jump bike or scooter in London, Paris, Brussels or Rome over the past few days, you may have noticed that they’ve suddenly vanished, as Fluctuo reported on its Twitter account. The reason is that Lime has closed the acquisition of Uber’s micromobility subsidiary Jump in Europe today, a few weeks after the transaction closed in the U.S.
Jump bikes and scooters are now sitting in warehouses, waiting for Lime to do something with them. Some of them should be redeployed in key cities in the coming weeks. But it’s still unclear whether Lime will keep all this inventory of scooters and bikes going forward.
Uber is trying to cut costs as usage has been plummeting due to the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdowns around the world. In addition to two massive rounds of layoffs, the company is trying to focus on its core products and markets. For instance, Uber Eats is pulling out of several markets. While Uber invested in Lime back in May, Uber is also offloading Jump to Lime as part of the deal.
Assets and employees are joining Lime, but scooters and bikes aren’t leaving the Uber app — at least once the transition process is done. “We’re glad that our customers will continue to have access to bikes and scooters in both our apps,” Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi said at the time.
Over the past few weeks, you may have seen some photos and videos of Jump bikes being scrapped in the U.S. Uber transferred part of its fleet of micromobility vehicles to Lime in the U.S., but still had thousands of bikes on its hands.
Sources say that Lime has acquired the full Jump fleet in Europe. But it doesn’t necessarily mean that all bikes and scooters will find their way back to the streets. Lime first plans to redeploy Jump scooters and bikes in London, Paris, Rome and Barcelona first. Relaunching Jump in other cities will depend on whether it makes sense for the company.
According to a cached page on Jump’s website, the service was available in Berlin, Munich, Lisbon, Madrid, Malaga, Paris, Brussels, London, Rome and Rotterdam. If Lime has no plans to relaunch Jump in most of these cities, it makes little sense to keep bikes and scooters unused in warehouses.
The main difference between what happened in the U.S. and what’s happening in Europe is that Uber was responsible for the unused vehicles in the U.S. while Lime is in charge of the unused vehicles in Europe. Let’s hope Lime will do the right thing and sell or recycle those vehicles to avoid bad press.
Similarly, all remaining Jump employees are now Lime employees. But Uber laid off part of the Jump team before the acquisition closed. A number of Jump employees also moved to other responsibilities within Uber.
At first, Lime is going to keep the Jump brand around — Lime can leverage all Jump assets, from design to IP and branding. But the company wants to consolidate its fleet under the Lime brand, eventually.