Lyft has acquired several bike-rental services over the past years such as Citi Bike, Ford GoBike, Divvy, Blue Bikes, Capital Bikeshare, and latest, Motivate. The company is now valued at $15 billion and has promised to invest $100 million over a five-year period in New York’s Citi Bike. This service, with 12,000 bikes for rent across New York City, has already won the race of share bikes in North America and is on track to become one of the biggest bike-share programs around the globe. Besides normal bikes, Lyft said that “a significant portion” of the fleet would consist of pedal-assist electric bikes, making the offer more dynamic to encompass various mobility needs .
Citi Bike has been successful with its docked bike system, and according to its spokespersons, the dockless model has not been as promising. Considering this critical moment when New York City is in the process of deciding if it should keep dockless bikes and scooters off the streets, Citi Bike enjoys a near-exclusive right to the market, leaving little room for other micro-mobility service providers such as Lime and JUMP to compete.
Lyft has been expanding into an umbrella of shared mobility services of all kinds. The company has dockless e-scooters in Denver, Santa Monica and Washington, D.C., and the list is still growing .
Compared to the dockless craze with all the light vehicles, the traditional docked bike system seems organized and neat. All bikes rest in designated places on the streets and no one leaves behind chaos after using one, other than perhaps running a red light. When implemented in such a large scale as Citi Bike, it can almost achieve the flexibility and convenience that dockless systems offer but still remains very much controllable compared to its dockless peers. The densely populated New York city offers Citi Bike quite a unique opportunity that suits their strategy, and perhaps the immensely crowded streets of New York already have some difficulties in welcoming more micro-mobility newcomers. Nevertheless, this condition does not exist in all cities.
The well-known ride-hailing giant Lyft has been expanding its micro-mobility service catalogue vastly. A few weeks ago we reported that Lime was launching a car-sharing program in Seattle. It seems the trend of providing a diversity of mobility services that support the MaaS ecosystem is affecting all kinds of players in the game, no matter which type of service they started with.
Written by Anne Faxér, RISE Viktoria.