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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: 662750

Reported Deaths: 12623
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion907691647
Lake48461880
Allen35897638
Hamilton32121398
St. Joseph30032513
Elkhart25403417
Vanderburgh21261379
Tippecanoe20050203
Johnson16362360
Porter15987270
Hendricks15835300
Clark11976181
Madison11756319
Vigo11625230
Monroe10343163
Delaware9842179
LaPorte9778197
Howard9059198
Kosciusko8567111
Bartholomew7464147
Warrick7422151
Hancock7409132
Floyd7217170
Wayne6640192
Grant6432157
Boone610088
Morgan6096125
Dubois5916111
Dearborn548368
Cass545099
Marshall5427104
Henry542593
Noble509778
Jackson465067
Shelby460790
Lawrence4186113
Gibson401381
Harrison400464
Clinton396153
Montgomery387283
DeKalb385878
Miami357563
Knox357485
Whitley349537
Huntington345777
Steuben338855
Wabash331876
Putnam330559
Ripley327162
Adams323549
Jasper316643
White297352
Jefferson295074
Daviess285496
Fayette271956
Decatur270988
Greene261580
Posey261231
Wells258375
Scott250850
Clay241644
LaGrange240970
Randolph225476
Spencer218030
Jennings215344
Washington211627
Sullivan203339
Fountain201642
Starke188251
Owen182353
Fulton179037
Jay177928
Carroll176518
Perry173235
Orange171250
Rush165122
Vermillion160842
Franklin159435
Tipton146741
Parke139316
Pike127832
Blackford120627
Pulaski106644
Newton96532
Brown95139
Benton92213
Crawford90713
Martin80114
Warren75814
Switzerland7548
Union67210
Ohio53711
Unassigned0431

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 968874

Reported Deaths: 17346
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin1119871212
Cuyahoga957051750
Hamilton73287974
Montgomery47254892
Summit40184957
Butler35456473
Lucas35279767
Stark29356843
Warren22381276
Lorain21994391
Mahoning19444544
Lake18379305
Clermont18346212
Delaware16437136
Licking14967200
Fairfield14506160
Trumbull14315465
Greene13568214
Medina13370219
Clark12246336
Wood11506194
Portage11008160
Allen10768235
Richland10278206
Miami10011190
Muskingum8169131
Columbiana8120183
Pickaway8041104
Tuscarawas8029236
Marion7982137
Wayne7857219
Erie6872184
Ross6130137
Geauga6057129
Hancock5981114
Ashtabula5959147
Scioto5933104
Lawrence524974
Union512352
Darke5026124
Belmont491889
Huron4797118
Jefferson4790108
Sandusky476196
Seneca4671103
Athens463733
Washington462287
Mercer4582101
Auglaize455499
Shelby440970
Knox401686
Putnam3986101
Madison392147
Ashland379195
Fulton378664
Defiance3714102
Brown369242
Crawford357496
Logan354060
Preble352671
Clinton340064
Highland327756
Ottawa323267
Williams301878
Jackson289356
Champaign286646
Guernsey286234
Fayette268144
Perry267744
Morrow259225
Henry245765
Hardin244457
Holmes2430104
Coshocton235547
Van Wert229249
Gallia221846
Adams216032
Pike215228
Wyandot209353
Hocking194049
Carroll180828
Paulding160023
Meigs135037
Noble128742
Monroe116436
Morgan100834
Harrison100433
Vinton76715
Unassigned00
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