- Lyft plans to apply for a permit to operate an electric scooter fleet in San Francisco, according to a report from The Information.
- Although the effort is still early, the ride-share company has reportedly been exploring scooter design prototypes.
- Lyft could enter San Francisco’s scooter market as part of the city’s pilot program, which will license five firms to run networks of electric scooters. Applications for the program open this week.
Lyft’s reported move — which has not been confirmed by the company — comes just two months after Uber acquired the dockless electric bike-share company Jump. That allowed Uber users to access Jump bikes through Uber’s app, and put Uber’s heft and influence behind the bike company’s expansion. (Jump has also said it would explore the scooter market.) Lyft could similarly add scooters to its existing infrastructure, marking an expansion into a new mode of transportation.
Both Lyft and Uber have been eyeing their role in the overall transportation scheme; Lyft has been partnering with transit agencies to offer a more direct solution to the “first mile, last mile” problem, and both companies are eyeing self-driving cars. Scooters could offer an alternative for short trips that wouldn't otherwise be useful in a ride-share.
Lyft’s interest also comes as San Francisco is trying to regulate the scooter market. Currently, companies — including Lime and Spin — are operating without permission from the city, angering residents who say they’re unsafe and clogging sidewalks when parked. The permit program is meant to keep the companies going while addressing residents’ concerns, requesting that companies show their vehicles can be parked at racks and serve low income communities.