The potential acquisition takes place as San Francisco orders a ‘cease and desist’ for all e-scooters
Lyft, the ride sharing company, has been in discussions with Citi Bike operator Motivate over recent weeks to acquire the electric bike company for a reported $250 million, in an attempt to join the e-bicycle and e-scooter craze that has been sweeping through the US.
But the largest ride hailing company in the US, Uber, has other plans for Motivate. Uber, who has already recently purchased a similar e-bicycle programme Jump for $100 million, is reportedly also in discussions with Motivate to purchase the company behind Ford GoBikes in California and Citi Bikes in New York.
The Citi Bikes in NY in May alone provided an impressive 1,824,634 rides according to Motivate.
The two competitors supposedly going head-to-head to acquire the largest e-bicycle company in the US comes as San Francisco clamps down on the e-scooters and bicycles that took over the city with no regulatory requirements.
San Francisco recently ordered a ‘cease and desist’ for all e-scooter companies and has since stated they will only be issuing five e-scooter companies with permits for the city.
E-scooters and bikes have taken over dense US cities over the last few months and have fast become a popular alternative to private cars, public transport, and ride-hailing taxis provided by companies like Lyft and Uber.
12 e-scooter companies have already applied for those five sought-after permits, Lyft and Uber (through Jump) among them. It is unclear currently whether Lyft and Uber, if given a permit, plan to build their own fleet of e-scooters or partner with an already established scooter company.
The vastly popular last-mile transport option of e-scooter and bike provide an alternative to ride-hailing companies short journeys, which can be the most profitable for them.
However, San Francisco’s permits should stop e-bicycles and scooters flooding the market with each company being limited to having only 250 scooters as part of their fleet.
Whoever manages to acquire Motivate, the interest in the e-bicycle company despite strict restrictions put in place in the city of San Francisco, shows ride-hailing companies confidence in the potential for these convenient alternatives to current ride hailing options. The competition in San Francisco for the coveted five permits continues on currently.