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Lyft today announced it has acquired Motivate, one of the largest bike share companies in the United States. A portion of Motivate’s operations will change its name to Lyft Bikes. The financial terms of the deal were not disclosed, but is estimated to be worth $250 million.
Motivate operates some of the most recognizable bike operations in the U.S., working with cities like Chicago, San Francisco, Oakland, New York City, Washington D.C., and Portland to launch, manage, and maintain bike share operations. In each of these places, bikes are adorned with the logos of sponsors like Ford, Citi, and Nike.
Lyft’s acquisition of Motivate comes amid the speedy adoption of electric scooters like Bird and Lime in cities across the country and follows Uber’s acquisition of bike share company Jump in April for about $200 million.
As both Lyft and Uber applied for electric scooter permits in San Francisco last month, both appear ready to incorporate options for things like bikes and electric scooters into their smartphone apps.
“As part of this agreement, Lyft is acquiring Motivate’s technology and corporate functions, including its city contracts,” Lyft said in a statement shared with VentureBeat. “Motivate’s bike maintenance and servicing operations will remain a standalone business, retaining the Motivate name, and will continue to support bike share systems across North America.”
Adding bike share and electric scooters to the mix introduces auxiliary transportation options that go beyond core ridesharing businesses for Lyft and Uber. It also means private businesses that provide non-traditional transportation services are likely to become an even bigger part of the public transportation infrastructure.
A number of public transportation authorities in major cities have begun to work with Uber and Lyft and share data in order to address what’s often referred to as the last-mile problem — the distance a person needs to travel in order to consider taking the bus, a Lyft shuttle, or some combination of options that do not require owning or leasing a car. Bike sharing and electric scooter activity should supply a fair amount of data that helps address this problem.
Two of the biggest complaints about electric scooter startups heard from cities and their residents since electric scooters began to emerge in recent months is that the startups don’t have a place to park electric scooters and they don’t wait for permission from city officials to deploy them.
That stands in contrast to companies like Motivate, who by choice or by necessity has forged relationships with city governments and corporate sponsors across the country to meet varying financial or regulatory obligations for each jurisdiction.
VentureBeat has reached out to Lyft for additional comment on how plans to deploy electric scooters will benefit from the Motivate acquisition, but with existing relationships and real estate already being taken up by bike share racks in major cities across the country, it isn’t hard to imagine the way people get around in cities to continue to change fast.
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