Lyft enters scooter business with Denver launch
- Lyft launched its own electric scooter service Thursday in Denver with a fleet of 250 scooters with plans to expand to 350 vehicles in the area, according to TechCrunch and others.
- The scooters can be found through Lyft’s existing app and cost $1 to unlock and 15 cents per minute in use, including reservation and hold times. Lyft is also reportedly offering a discount for rides that start or end near public transit stops.
- A hundred or so of the scooters will be in what Lyft calls "opportunity zones," which are generally low-income and underserved by public transit, according to The Verge.
Lyft had previously signaled that it would move into alternative transportation spaces when it acquired bike-share company Motivate in July, which Lyft co-founder and president John Zimmer said at the time would “accelerate our collaboration with cities and deliver even better experiences to our passengers and riders.” Lyft had also signaled that it was eyeing scooter services, with reports that the company had applied for a permit to operate a fleet in San Francisco, although the application was unsuccessful.
The two companies have been exploring their roles in a changing transportation scheme, trying to offer even more alternatives to car ownership. Lyft has notably been integrating public transportation information into its app, promoting shared rides and will now signal to users if a scooter is available near them, driving users to alternatives to driving for short trips. The discounted service near public transit marks another attempt by Lyft to solve the “first mile, last mile” problem. The moves are also meant to be more collaborative with cities by emphasizing existing infrastructure.
The launch in Denver also comes after that city had previously taken scooters from competitors like Bird and Lime off the streets for launching without permits; the city has since offered permits to several companies for both scooters and dockless bike-sharing as it explores ways to reduce car ownership over the next decade.
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