How one of my new credit card perks helps me avoid rush hour traffic
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I live in downtown Austin, where electric scooters litter the sidewalks, sloppily leaning against a skinny tree or shamelessly sprawled along the side of the road like discarded children’s toys. I eye them and their riders with suspicion, giving them a wide berth as they wobble down poorly paved roads next to my car.
I’ve been pretty disdainful of scooters until now, but they’ve slowly grown on me for short commutes across town. They’re extremely useful for getting through the downtown gridlock in a city like Austin, where it can take almost an hour to go three miles during rush hour and where parking is pretty much non-existent.
I’m a big fan of walking, which is why I live downtown in the first place. But sometimes walking just doesn’t work out, like when it’s more than 100 degrees outside and I don’t want to show up to an event sweating like I just ran a marathon. Other times, scooters help me get from Point A to Point B when I’m a few minutes behind schedule and don’t want to power walk. Finally, electric scooters are a bit more eco-friendly than driving.
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I still think scooters are dangerous, especially when I see people whizzing down the street after a drink (or two, or three). They can go up to 20 miles per hour, which can spell disaster when paired with a crack in the street or an unsteady hand (scooters technically count as vehicles and are required to stay off of the sidewalk). And while users are strongly encouraged to wear helmets, the vast majority of people don’t have them on hand — myself included. I do my best to be super vigilant, keep a close eye on traffic regulations and oblivious drivers alike, and make sure I never mix drinking and scooting.
Of late, I’ve found myself gravitating toward Lyft scooters for two reasons:
- I always have the app on my phone, since I use Lyft for ride-hailing. I often delete apps that aren’t in frequent use, and most of my scooter-specific apps have fallen by the wayside.
- I get three Lyft rides per month now, thanks to my Chase Sapphire Reserve.
I used to be scooter brand-agnostic. With several competitors in Austin, I could take my pick between Lime, Lyft, Spin, Uber, Bird, Jump and likely at least one other company with a trendy startup name.
While Lime scooters are a bit on the large side for my 5′ 2″ frame, the rest are essentially indistinguishable from each other from an operational standpoint. So those three free rides each month have made all the difference in tipping me toward Lyft for my tiny-wheeled adventures, since none of the scooter brands cost all that much to operate, especially compared to ride-hailing cars.
I don’t have a good solution to the valid safety concerns, or for the clutter of scooters galore clustered around downtown. But at least in Austin, electric scooters are here to stay for the time being. And now that I get three rides for free each month, I have one more reason to use them.
Welcome to The Points Guy!
WELCOME OFFER: 80,000 Points
TPG'S BONUS VALUATION*: $1,650
CARD HIGHLIGHTS: 2X points on all travel and dining, points transferrable to over a dozen travel partners
*Bonus value is an estimated value calculated by TPG and not the card issuer. View our latest valuations here.
- Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,000 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. Plus earn up to $50 in statement credits towards grocery store purchases within your first year of account opening.
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- With Pay Yourself Back℠, your points are worth 25% more during the current offer when you redeem them for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories.
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