WHAT’S BEING CLAIMED:
- Lyft makes a move in the electric scooter market as it brings the dockless devices to Denver, the first U.S. market for its scooters.
- The scooter service is meant to help commuters in areas that lack public transport.
- Lyft plans to extend services to other cities after obtaining approval from local governments and councils.
Lyft has now obtained permits to operate scooters and electric bikes in Denver, making it the first U.S. city in which the ride-sharing company will be operating its electric scooter service.
Around 100 scooters will be stationed in areas with little to no public transport, helping commuters get to train and bus stops more easily. The Lyft app alerts the rider when a stop is nearby.
The scooters are only available for use between 6 AM and 8 PM, though.
A ride costs $1 to unlock, and 15 cents per minute of use, which includes hold and reservation time. For eligible low-income residents, a Community Pass program allows a $5 charge per year for an unlimited number of rides of up to 30 minutes, at no extra cost. A fee will be added if a stop is made outside the defined service area.
In accordance to the city’s current laws, the scooters should only be ridden on Denver’s sidewalks, and some areas are off-limits. According to The Verge, Lyft’s team of full-time employees will be recharging the scooters and moving them to areas where they’re most needed.
The Xiaomi company built the scooters, which can run for roughly 15 miles and up to about 15 mph. The Lyft app also conveniently shows you where to find a scooter, and estimates how far you’ll be able to ride given the current battery level.
Aside from Lyft, the companies running scooters in Denver are Lime, Bird, Spin, and Razor. The permits they received in July allows them to run up to 350 scooters as part of a one-year pilot project.
Lyft and Uber are two well-known giants of the ride-sharing industry but are still playing catch up in the electric scooter market, in which Bird and Lime currently have the foothold.
Lyft, along with Uber and other companies, missed out on the permit to operate electric scooters in San Francisco last month – with Scoot and Skip being the only companies currently allowed to operate scooters in the city.
In the meantime, Lyft and Uber both have permits for Santa Monica, where Lyft will start its operations September 17th.
While Lyft plans to extend its services to other cities, it’s taking a more cautious approach to expansion, which is playing nice with local governments first – instead of forcing its way into new markets without prior approval and then trying to make nice later.