Lyft is Close to Acquiring Bike Sharing Operator Motivate for $250 Million
【Summary】The Information reports that Lyft, the number two ride-hailing company is reportedly close to a deal to buy Motivate, the operator of CitiBike. Sources quoted in the story suggest the acquisition price of $250 million.
In the San Francisco bay area, electric bikes, and now scooters, can be rented for short "last mile" trips. These shared mobility offerings are attracting a lot of attention from ride-hailing companies, including Lyft and Uber.
Today, The Information reports that Lyft, the number two ride-hailing company is reportedly close to a deal to buy Motivate, the operator of CitiBike. Sources quoted in the story suggest the acquisition would cost $250 million.
Motivate operates a number of regional bike-share programs, including New York's Citi Bike and San Francisco's GoBike, the latter is a venture funded by Ford Motor Co. Motivate earned $100 million last year.
The potential deal comes after Uber's $200 million purchase of New York-based Jump, a dockless electric bike-share startup that operates 12,000 bikes in 40 cities around the world.
Uber purchased Jump Bike for $200 Million
The purchase underscores an industry shift towards mobility as a service (MaaS), giving people more options to get across town as an alternative to private vehicle ownership.
According to The Information's report, Motivate had been seeking financing or opportunities to be acquired by companies like Uber or Lyft. The company's pitch to potential investors hinged on the value of its bike-share deals with large cities, including exclusive contracts in New York, Boston, and San Francisco.
In a recent household travel survey conducted by the U.S. Department of Transportation, 35 percent of U.S. vehicle trips last year were just two miles or less, ideal for new options such as dockless bikes and electric scooters startups including Bird and Lime that are flooding city streets with their scooters.
Bird, based in Santa Monica, just announced a funding round that may value the company at nearly $1 billion, an unprecedented amount for a scooter startup. Since March, Bird has placed hundreds of scooter on San Francisco sidewalks for people to rent.
Analysts speculate that both Uber and Lyft see these numerous on-demand transportation options as a threat to growth in the urban transportation market, especially for short, frequent trips.
Uber and Lyft are both being blamed for increased traffic in urban areas where they operate, especially in San Francisco. The bikes and scooters offer riders an alternative to being stuck in traffic in the back of an Uber or Lyft vehicle. Uber is working on offering bike rentals as an option directly from the Uber app.
The San Francisco Treasurer's Office estimates that 45,000 Uber and Lyft are registered to operate in San Francisco. On a typical weekday, over 5,700 transportation network vehicles operate on San Francisco streets at peak times.
Bike-share ridership data compiled by the National Association of City Transportation Officials suggest these services are thriving. 35 million bike-share trips were taken in 2017, an increase of 25 percent from 2016.
In addition to the purchase of Motivate, Lyft is exploring launching a electric scooter service of its own in San Francisco. Uber has also expressed interest in scooters in addition to electric bikes. Investment in the industry has grown dramatically in recent months.
Motivate has begun testing dockless and electric bikes, with plans to offer dockless bikes in Minneapolis and San Jose, California.
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