Lyft May Be Getting Into the Electric Scooter Sharing Business

May 21, 2018

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Electric scooters are becoming more and more synonymous with city transportation, whether you like it or not.

Now, ride-hailing company Lyft is thinking about entering the fray. The Information reports that Lyft is seeking permits to start an electric scooter sharing service in San Francisco.

Popping up throughout the US in cities like San Francisco and Washington, DC, these services offer users the ability to grab a scooter anywhere they see one and drop it off practically anywhere throughout the city. You need a phone to unlock it, and rides cost just a few dollars.

According to emails obtained through public information requests, The Information found that Lyft has been in contact with city officials about starting an e-scooter sharing business.

Other companies already operate dockless electric scooters in San Francisco, like Spin and Lime. Critics of the services say that scooters are too often ridden on side-walks, which endangers pedestrians, while proponents say it offers commuters an easier, and greener, way to get around.

There’s little regulation in San Francisco pertaining to e-scooter companies, but the city did recently establish a regulation and permitting process. The city board approved a pilot program that will issue permits to five companies that allows each group to operate 500 scooters throughout the city. If it wants a permit, Lyft will have to show authorities that it can educate users on how to park scooters without blocking sidewalks and how to attach them to bike racks.

Lyft declined to comment on the story when TPG reached out for comment.

The move by Lyft shows interest in expanding beyond traditional ride-hailing methods of cars —using a scooter or bike can sometimes make more sense than taking a car, and Lyft wants to capitalize on that.

Uber recently acquired electric bike-sharing company, JUMP Bikes that operates a similar model, but offers dockless electric bikes. JUMP’s e-bikes are available in San Francisco, Santa Cruz, Sacramento and Washington DC.

The story was updated at 1:30pm EST with Lyft’s comment. 

Featured image by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images.

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