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Lyft pumps $100 million into major expansion of New York City’s Citi Bike


It’s better known for ridesharing, but make no mistake, Lyft is getting serious about expanding into bikesharing services, too.

Its plan is evidenced by Lyft’s announcement on Thursday, November 29, that it has now completed its acquisition of Motivate — the largest bikesharing provider in North America.

With the announcement came news that Lyft is pumping $100 million into New York City’s Citi Bike service, which is operated by Motivate.

The investment will see Citi Bike grow from 12,000 docked bikes to a whopping 40,000 over the next five years. But the expansion doesn’t only refer to the number of bikes, as the service area will also be increased by 35 square miles to more than double what it is now. The fleet will comprise a mix of regular and pedal-assist electric two-wheelers.

Responding to news of Lyft’s major investment, Mayor Bill de Blasio described New York City as “one of the world’s great biking cities,” adding, “And it’s about to get even better.”

“This expansion means tens of thousands more New Yorkers are going to have a fast and inexpensive way to get around their city,” de Blasio de Blasio said in a statement. “It also means much more reliable service for all the riders who already use Citi Bike.”

Lyft sees its growing interest in bikesharing as a natural extension of its “vision to improve transportation access, sustainability and affordability.”

It says bikesharing offers a slew of benefits, including improved personal health and journey times that beat walking and gridlocked traffic.

“With this acquisition, we are poised to help take bikeshare to the next level: Adding thousands of bikes and stations in communities that haven’t had access to transportation; making bikeshare membership more convenient and affordable than ever; and deploying new electric bikes on a major scale,” Lyft said in a blog post announcing its latest expansion into bikesharing.

Besides bikes, the company recently moved into scootersharing services, too. Lyft says its goal is to take a million cars off the road by the end of 2019 by persuading people to ditch their own vehicles in favor of its various transportation services.

The company is battling with Uber to become the go-to service for urbanites looking to get across town via a mix of transportation options, whether cars, bikes, or scooters.

In April 2018, Uber acquired bikesharing startup Jump, which offers electric bikes for hire in 12 U.S. cities, among them San Francisco, New York, Chicago, and Washington, D.C. Uber has also partnered with Lime, which operates a sharing scheme using electric scooters as well as bikes. Lyft’s acquisition of Motivate means it now has control over a slew of bikesharing schemes, including Ford GoBike in Lyft’s home city of San Francisco, Divvy in Chicago, Bluebikes in Boston, and Capital Bikeshare in Washington, D.C.

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Trevor Mogg
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