from the just-wheelin'-it dept.
Submitted via IRC for Fnord666
Uber and Lyft are reportedly battling it out to buy Citi Bike's parent company, Motivate
Lyft might have thought its plan to buy bike-sharing company Motivate was a done deal. Uber, it seems, has other plans. Reports last week suggested that Lyft had struck a deal for upwards of $250 million to buy Motivate. But Uber is considering muscling in with its own offer, Axios reports.
Motivate is behind Citi Bike in New York and Ford GoBike in San Francisco, along with bike-sharing programs in other cities including Boston, Chicago, and Washington, DC. Commuters used its bikes 3.18 million times last month.
As the battlegrounds get more intense for the companies' non-ridesharing offerings, Uber and Lyft are exploring electric scooters and, yes, bike sharing. Uber recently bought Jump, which has an exclusive permit to run a dockless bike share system in San Francisco, so Motivate would expand its portfolio of urban services.
Both Uber and Lyft have reportedly applied for licenses to run electric scooters in San Francisco; scooters were recently pulled from the city's streets pending a licensing process, in part because they've proven a nuisance for many. There are more ways than cars to get people around cities, and both companies seem to be focusing more on alternative transport methods. Bike sharing, at the very least, would be a stopgap until flying cabs come along.
Lyft has acquired Motivate, the bike-sharing company that operates Citi Bike in New York City and Ford's GoBike program in San Francisco. Terms of the deal were not disclosed, though it was reported in June to be around $250 million.
Motivate, which Lyft says accounts for about 80 percent of bike-share trips in the US, also operates networks in Chicago; Boston; Washington, DC; Portland, Oregon; Columbus; and Minneapolis. Lyft says it "will invest to establish bike offerings in our major markets and pursue growth and innovation in the markets where Motivate currently operates," but it's unclear where or when it might expand beyond the cities Motivate is currently in. The company also did not share when Motivate's bikes will be available in the Lyft app.
Brakes that are too effective have led Lyft to remove thousands of its electric pedal-assist bicycles from New York City (Citi Bike), San Francisco (Ford GoBike), and Washington, D.C. (Capital Bikeshare):
A month ago, Jordan Wyckoff was riding an electric Citi Bike to work in Brooklyn when he slammed on the brakes to avoid a minivan that swerved in the bike lane. But when he hit the brakes, the front wheel locked up, sending Mr. Wyckoff over the front of the handlebars and onto the pavement.
The same thing happened to Dominik Glodzik when he tried to brake before a stop sign in Astoria, Queens about two months ago.
William Turton flipped over the front of an electric Citi Bike while trying to brake before an intersection on Bedford Avenue in Brooklyn.
In recent months, dozens of riders have reported injuries while riding electric Citi Bikes, prompting the company on Sunday to pull all of the approximately 1,000 electric bicycles from New York City's streets amid safety concerns about the brakes. Lyft, which owns Citi Bike, took similar precautions with its other bike-sharing services in Washington and San Francisco.
Motivate, a subsidiary of Lyft since 2018, operates bicycle sharing systems in several cities.