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 2:08 PM
Updated: Sep 6, 2018 2:08 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.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 15229

Reported Deaths: 723
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds99925
Lauderdale73561
Madison72023
Scott65012
Neshoba63038
Jones59825
Forrest55338
DeSoto5337
Rankin4217
Leake42112
Holmes39728
Copiah3104
Jackson30513
Attala29216
Yazoo2734
Newton2714
Leflore25831
Harrison2577
Lincoln25628
Monroe25525
Lamar2355
Oktibbeha23512
Lowndes2119
Pearl River20931
Pike20211
Adams19615
Noxubee1856
Wayne1771
Warren1719
Washington1687
Covington1652
Bolivar16011
Jasper1574
Smith15011
Lee1496
Kemper14411
Clarke14318
Chickasaw13312
Lafayette1314
Coahoma1214
Carroll11711
Marion1159
Clay1124
Winston1121
Claiborne1112
Lawrence1021
Simpson1010
Yalobusha905
Hancock9011
Tate891
Grenada893
Wilkinson889
Itawamba877
Union835
Marshall833
Montgomery831
Sunflower813
Jefferson Davis772
Tippah7311
Panola703
Webster691
Calhoun644
Humphreys607
Amite601
Walthall550
Tunica543
Prentiss523
Perry503
Choctaw432
Jefferson421
Tishomingo320
Pontotoc323
Stone300
Franklin282
Tallahatchie271
Quitman260
George251
Alcorn171
Benton150
Greene121
Sharkey70
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 17359

Reported Deaths: 618
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Mobile2191115
Jefferson1780102
Montgomery163238
Tuscaloosa73814
Marshall6879
Franklin5457
Lee54033
Shelby50319
Tallapoosa42364
Butler40217
Chambers35325
Walker3442
Elmore3398
Madison3274
Baldwin2839
Dallas2603
Morgan2511
Etowah24811
DeKalb2433
Lowndes23812
Coffee2291
Sumter2206
Autauga2164
Houston2094
Bullock2034
Pike1980
Colbert1782
Russell1670
Marengo1636
Lauderdale1612
Hale1598
Calhoun1543
Choctaw1518
Barbour1501
Wilcox1447
Clarke1422
Cullman1260
Randolph1257
Marion12111
St. Clair1181
Pickens1114
Dale1100
Talladega1093
Chilton1001
Limestone940
Greene944
Winston880
Covington771
Jackson772
Crenshaw763
Macon754
Henry742
Bibb721
Washington686
Blount611
Escambia573
Lawrence480
Geneva400
Conecuh391
Coosa381
Monroe372
Perry370
Cherokee373
Clay272
Lamar230
Fayette150
Cleburne141
Unassigned00
Tupelo
Clear
63° wxIcon
Hi: 83° Lo: 60°
Feels Like: 63°
Columbus
Clear
62° wxIcon
Hi: 85° Lo: 60°
Feels Like: 62°
Oxford
Clear
61° wxIcon
Hi: 81° Lo: 57°
Feels Like: 61°
Starkville
Clear
59° wxIcon
Hi: 83° Lo: 56°
Feels Like: 59°
WTVA Radar
WTVA Temperatures
WTVA Severe Weather