Uber says the restricted bike zone, which is allowed under its city permit, is in place to maintain an appropriate density of bikes while the company has a limited number of bikes available. The zone will expand and ultimately go away as Uber adds more bikes.
Uber’s bike-share business, which launched in Seattle in November, lets customers unlock an electric bike for $1, and then pay just 10 cents per minute to ride it around the city.
But, at least for now, that’s not true everywhere.
Want to ride an Uber bike to Rainier Beach? That’ll cost an extra $25.
Want to go to Columbia City or West Seattle? $25.
How about Northgate or Lake City? $25.
Uber, whose red bikes operate under the brand name JUMP, says it charges a $25 fee for any ride that ends outside a central “bike zone” that covers downtown, Capitol Hill, South Lake Union, Fremont, Wallingford and parts of the University District and Ballard.
The company’s app says the fee is added for bikes left outside the bike zone (not bikes that simply pass through those areas), but an Uber spokesman said the company is not currently charging the fee.
Seattle’s bike-share regulations require companies to submit an “equity plan” to describe how they will reach “all people in the City of Seattle, with a focus on communities of color, low-income communities, immigrant and refugee communities,” among others.
Uber’s current bike zone notably excludes most of Seattle’s most racially and ethnically diverse neighborhoods.