Uber is launching its "Jump by Uber" e-scooters in Auckland at midday today.
Some 735 Jump e-scooters will begin to be rolled out across the city, with an operational area extending from Mission Bay and Remuera to Point Chevalier (bordering on Avondale), and extending as far south as Royal Oak and One Tree Hill.
• Jump dump in Wellington: Uber e-scooters last just 6 months
• New AT policy sees Wellington car-sharing king Mevo hit 'go' for Auckland launch
• Chris Keall: 3 things that bug me about Auckland Council's decision to boot out Lime
• Five Kiwi tech startups to watch in 2020
Jump's e-scooters will cost an industry-standard $1 to unlock then 38 cents per minute.
Uber says users will see a Jump option once they open its car-sharing app - which up until now has been used for wrangling the company's car-sharing service (Uber for Business users can't expense a scooter ride yet, although that option is coming).
The Jump e-scooter rollout is part of Auckland Council's first official six-month e-scooter licensing period, which sees the total e-scooter cap lifted from 1875 (the limit for the two trial periods) to 3200.
Auckland Council six-month licence period to June 3, 2020
• Total e-scooter allocation: Raised from 1875 to 3200
• Beam: 880
• Neuron: 880
• Jump by Uber: 735
• Flamingo: 630
• Yet-to-be-allocated: 75
Jump is sharing Auckland streets with the locally-owned Flamingo (the only survivor from the trial period), and two Singapore-owned players Neuron (whose rollout of 880 e-scooters into Auckland on Friday) and Beam. All four were judged to have a better "safety profile" than Lime and Wave, who failed to make the cut.
As well as the standard $1 unlock, 38c a minute, Neuron is offering three-day passes for $25, weekly passes for $33 and monthly passes for $89, which allow users to have unlimited rides for up to 90 minutes per day.
For Uber, the council's licensing decision - announced shortly before Christmas - was a case of swings and slides. The rideshare giant is a major investor in Lime, but has full-control of Jump, which it bought in 2018.
Uber will expand its Auckland presence again next month as it launches 655 of its Jump by Uber e-bikes in the city, which will cost $1 to unlock then 30 cents per minute.
There are already around 400 Jump by Uber e-scooters in the capital as part of Wellington's ongoing e-scooter trial.
The company copped flak in November when trucks were spotted dumping around 300 Jump e-scooters into a freight company's concrete yard, just six months after they hit the city's streets.
Uber New Zealand spokesperson Henry Greenacre said the scooters had come to the end of their life because of heavy use. They would be sent for recycling.
His company has also had an issue in the capital with thieves stripping e-scooters for parts then throwing them in the harbour.
Volunteer divers have fished 19 e-scooters from the water since Wellington City Council launched two e-scooter share schemes - Jump and Flamingo - in June last year. And Uber and Flamingo GPS beacons indicate there are at least another six on the ocean floor.
Auckland Council's expansion from 1875 to 3200 e-scooters comes as central government has yet to decide if it should make any law-change to introduce e-scooter speed-limits, or if it should make helmets mandatory, ban e-scooters from pavements, or allow them in all cycleways.
All of Neuron's e-scooters will come with adjustable safety helmets.
Since e-scooter ride-sharing kicked off with Lime's October 2018 launch into NZ, ACC has racked up more than $4.3 million in e-scooter related claims.
Like Lime before it, Jump by Uber says it will have safety events where free helmets are given out, and various low-cost promotions.
Neuron is the most front-foot of the newcomers on the helmet front, with an adjustable helmet danging off every e-scooter - but already this morning there were at least a couple abandoned on the pavement.
The current licensing period runs through to June 3.
Lime, which still operates in Christchurch and Queenstown, says it hopes to make a comeback when licensees are named for the following period.