Lyft launches a scooter service. Uber is close behind

Lyft launched a fleet of electric scooters in Denver on Thursday, stepping squarely into the rapidly growing...

Posted: Sep 6, 2018 3:08 PM
Updated: Sep 6, 2018 3:08 PM

Lyft launched a fleet of electric scooters in Denver on Thursday, stepping squarely into the rapidly growing scooter-sharing market so far dominated by the likes of Bird and Lime.

Uber is expected to deploy its own scooters in rival Bird's hometown of Santa Monica, California within a few weeks, according to a company spokesperson.

Although the two companies are synonymous with ridesharing, they see tremendous potential in electric scooters and bicycles. The devices, which are popular with commuters, help reduce congestion and complement public transit. That could help offset mounting criticism -- backed by several studies -- that show ridesharing leads to more traffic as people shift from mass transit to cars.

"Scooters are a way to make daily trips more fun and encourage multimodal commuting," Caroline Samponaro, who leads bike and scooter policy at Lyft, told CNN Money.

Related: Cities start giving scooter companies a second chance

Eager to further facilitate the switch to scooters, Lyft will soon offer anyone riding its scooters a discount if they start or end their ride near public transit. Scooters can be found through Lyft's app, and prices mirror industry standards of $1 to unlock a scooter and 15 cents a minute. The company is also adding a feature in its app to let commuters know when they're near public transit stops.

Uber, which acquired bikesharing startup Jump in April, has seen riders in San Francisco shifting from cars to electric bikes, suggesting the ridesharing giants must expand beyond cars if they don't want to see upstarts siphon away business.

Samponaro said Lyft has received a ton of demand from cities interested in scooters. Lyft will launch scooters in Santa Monica Sept. 17. It's interested in expanding to other cities, but will take its cue on when to launch from city governments, according to Samponaro.

Lyft's approach differs from that of Bird and Lime, which launched in Denver and many other cities earlier this year without municipal approval. The approach rankled some cities, but helped the companies grow quickly and win over customers. Bird and Lime have raised money from investors at a faster pace than Uber and Lyft did.

Such aggressive tactics are a throwback to the early days of ridesharing, and in fact, Bird is led by CEO Travis VanderZanden, a veteran of both Uber and Lyft. Uber and Lyft are being more measured in dealing with local governments today.

Lyft's fleet uses scooters much like those everyone else uses, but the company is offering some novel features. Riders can pay an added fee of 15 cents a minute to reserve a scooter through the app, for example. And the company will rely upon full-time employees to charge and maintain its fleet rather than using contract employees. It expects this will lead to better care of its scooters, so users can feel more confident they aren't about to ride on a broken or dangerous scooter.

"We think it's important that as the bike and scooter industry grows that there are good job opportunities paralleling that," Samponaro said.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 728811

Reported Deaths: 13405
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion996911740
Lake53548966
Allen40529675
St. Joseph35596550
Hamilton35536408
Elkhart28470441
Tippecanoe22375218
Vanderburgh22293396
Porter18701307
Johnson17923378
Hendricks17199315
Clark12943191
Madison12612339
Vigo12437246
Monroe11873170
LaPorte11856210
Delaware10667186
Howard9895216
Kosciusko9390117
Hancock8260140
Bartholomew8058155
Warrick7777155
Floyd7653178
Wayne7035199
Grant7032174
Boone6687101
Morgan6557139
Dubois6150117
Marshall6016111
Dearborn580077
Cass5794105
Henry5699103
Noble559883
Jackson501172
Shelby490696
Lawrence4522120
Harrison435072
Gibson434792
DeKalb427185
Clinton427053
Montgomery423688
Whitley395239
Huntington390080
Steuben385557
Miami381166
Knox371890
Jasper364747
Putnam359660
Wabash353479
Adams341054
Ripley339170
Jefferson329281
White313554
Daviess296299
Wells291381
Decatur284792
Fayette279562
Greene277885
Posey271333
Scott265653
LaGrange265570
Clay259447
Washington240332
Randolph239781
Spencer232131
Jennings229849
Starke215953
Fountain212046
Sullivan211442
Owen198756
Fulton194840
Jay193630
Carroll188520
Orange182654
Perry182637
Rush173025
Vermillion168843
Franklin167835
Tipton162845
Parke146116
Blackford134632
Pike133734
Pulaski116645
Newton107734
Brown101941
Crawford99514
Benton98514
Martin88615
Warren81815
Switzerland7858
Union71010
Ohio56511
Unassigned0414

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 1082815

Reported Deaths: 19428
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin1258081400
Cuyahoga1119722115
Hamilton799721205
Montgomery514061014
Summit47145945
Lucas42119788
Butler38338584
Stark32273906
Lorain24997481
Warren24274298
Mahoning21546588
Lake20653369
Clermont19761238
Delaware18512133
Licking16418212
Fairfield16176199
Trumbull16032468
Medina15268264
Greene15063244
Clark13983299
Wood13080189
Portage12839203
Allen11639232
Richland11349199
Miami10670217
Muskingum8803133
Wayne8793211
Columbiana8778229
Pickaway8564121
Marion8523135
Tuscarawas8473244
Erie7888154
Hancock6914127
Ross6846155
Ashtabula6805170
Geauga6686148
Scioto6406101
Belmont5881167
Union570848
Lawrence5549102
Jefferson5525151
Huron5430119
Darke5355123
Sandusky5347120
Seneca5282121
Athens519158
Washington5155109
Auglaize490784
Mercer480385
Shelby469293
Knox4486110
Madison435661
Putnam4278100
Fulton422469
Ashland421789
Defiance419697
Crawford3975107
Brown394157
Logan381676
Preble379598
Clinton372163
Ottawa366679
Highland355062
Williams339275
Champaign331658
Guernsey315653
Jackson312551
Perry294950
Morrow284939
Fayette281950
Hardin270864
Henry268666
Coshocton265257
Holmes2603101
Van Wert243463
Adams237852
Pike237634
Gallia235349
Wyandot231055
Hocking215362
Carroll191547
Paulding172640
Meigs144840
Noble133337
Monroe132042
Morgan108423
Harrison108137
Vinton83115
Unassigned02
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