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Lyft may join the party by putting its own electric scooters in San Francisco

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Already a partner in a bike-sharing scheme in Baltimore, Maryland, Lyft is now eyeing the launch of a scooter-sharing scheme in San Francisco.

The news comes via The Information, which recently learned that Lyft representatives have been seeking advice from local transportation officials about the possibility of obtaining permits for such a scheme.

A person with knowledge of the matter told the news outlet that Lyft’s plan is still in its “early stages,” though the report adds that the ridesharing company is already developing prototypes for its own electric-scooter designs.

Should Lyft launch the scheme, it will go up against a slew of others in the city offering similar bike and scooter services. They include ridesharing rival Uber, which at the start of this year partnered with Jump to offer electric-powered bicycles, perfect for San Francisco’s hilly streets.

Given that there are already so many bike and scooter services operating in the city, some will find it curious that Lyft is considering doing the same rather than going elsewhere.

Three outfits — Bird, Lime, and Spin — launched dockless electric-scooter services in San Francisco just two months ago, but some local officials are getting upset about how the vehicles are transforming the streets and sidewalks.

San Francisco Supervisor Aaron Peskin recently told Cnet he was getting “all kinds of complaints” about the scooters, including from people “having to dodge them as they go 15 miles an hour down the sidewalks illegally … people tripping over them [and] businesses upset that they’re [blocking their premises].”

San Francisco is yet to regulate the scooter schemes, making the business something of a free for all. However, officials are about to start insisting on permits and applications for providers that would, for example, limit the number of scooters they can put on the streets.

While those behind the schemes claim they’re helping to reduce car trips and turn boring commutes into something more fun, there are those who are clearly having a hard time dealing with the sudden influx of scooters and bikes.

It’s not clear when Lyft might bring its electric scooters to the streets of San Francisco, and it’s of course possible that it could abandon the idea entirely. Either way, we’ll keep you posted.

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Trevor Mogg
Contributing Editor
Not so many moons ago, Trevor moved from one tea-loving island nation that drives on the left (Britain) to another (Japan)…
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