When I moved back to Cincinnati in May of last year I decided to purchase a bicycle instead of a Red Bike pass (Cincinnati’s bike share program) to get to work and around the city as an alternative to driving. A couple of weeks into owning the bicycle I realized that living at the top of a steep hill made biking up a huge task and that there was a conveniently placed Red Bike station at the base of said hill. I made a mistake. On hot days I ended up walking to work and on cold days I would resort to my car. Now that the weather is starting to turn for the better again I decided to finally sell my bike, which I only rode a handful of times, and get a Red Bike membership instead. Beyond not having to lug my bike uphill to get home, I now have the convenience of reliably being able to pick up a bike when the situation deems it. As a result, driving to find parking seem much more of a burden than walking or taking public transportation.
Uber’s recent announcement to acquire JUMP, an e-bike sharing platform, and its unveiling strategy to become a multi-modal transportation company make the dream of not owning a car in the city much more feasible to me. To be clear I LOVE cars and I like to go on short drives on the weekend with the occasional road trip now and then. What I don’t like is deciphering parking signs, getting parking tickets, and the maintenance and costs associated with owning a car. I think we can all agree on these points. A unified platform where I can summon a car for short trips or rent a variety of vehicles for longer journeys seems to be the perfect solution to end car ownership as we know it today.
Unifying transportation sources will also be useful for those who rely on multiple sources of transportation to get to where they need to go. Putting all of these services in one seamless experience addresses a growing pain of having to use a different service or app depending on what form of transportation makes the most sense for you in the moment. The city of Cincinnati has already seen the need to address this issue and is currently looking to unify the public transportation infrastructure and ride sharing infrastructure through an RFP that was announced late last year. Mediocre public transportation services was one of the key contributing factors in Amazon looking over Cincinnati for it’s new HQ, so I hope that bringing more light to this issue will spur innovation in the proposals for this initiative.
At Spatial, we have spent a lot of time working on how we can improve the journeys of multi modal travelers. Hopefully, I can share the efforts that we have been working on publicly in a follow-up blog. Stay tuned.