You can shed one of the scooter apps on your smartphone. The first electric scooter company will leave San Antonio after a year of increasing numbers — more than 16,000 dockless vehicle permits — leading to a cap along with forthcoming regulations and limits.
“We are winding down our Jump operations in San Antonio,” said Travis Considine, an Uber representative. Uber owns Jump scooters.
The red Jump Scooters and Bikes will leave by week’s end after just five months in the city.
The company is the first to leave after changes proposed by the city that would have cut their vehicle number in half next month, from 4,000 permits to 2,000. Six companies remain in the city.
“It kind of came as a surprise when they announced they were leaving,” said John Jacks director of the Center City Development office for San Antonio.
No other companies have indicated they were leaving. There also wasn’t outcry from companies over the city’s Request for Proposal plan, which will reduce the number of licensed companies to three, the number of total scooters to 5,000 — or less than 1,700 per company — increase fees and asks for profit sharing.
“We worked pretty closely with all the companies when we started down this request for proposal process,” he said.
Considine said the new rules weren’t the reason for the reduction. But the company won't be applying for RFP. In fact, the company is leaving ahead of its July 4 permits expire.
“That adds credence to the idea that it is a business decision,” said David Heard CEO of Tech Bloc, a technology industry advocacy organization. "I guess, really when you put two and two together they feel like financially there are better places for their scooters to be operating than San Antonio, Texas."
Last month, Jump launched service in London and in Brussels the month before.
The city put out its RFP last week and will hold a pre-bid meeting on Friday. City staff anticipate presenting their recommendations to council in October for a vote.
Heard said he wouldn’t be surprised if others dropped out rather than renew their permits and bid for the city contract, but the city is doing what it needs to.
“No matter what we are going to end up with three viable, vibrant operators in San Antonio," he said.
TechCrunch reported Wednesday Jump announced a new version of its scooters that are larger and allow for swappable batteries. The new scooters will begin roll out in less than two weeks and were developed with a new, undisclosed company. Xiaomi Ninebot scooters developed Jump’s first-generation vehicles.