While the Atlanta City Council enjoys its winter recess, the city’s e-scooter industry seems to have no interest in taking a break.
City leaders for weeks have been deliberating how to regulate dockless, shareable vehicle operations, but the next full council meeting won’t happen until mid-January.
Perhaps capitalizing on the downtime (or maybe it’s just an innocent coincidence), rideshare giant Uber announced it was adding yet another e-scooter option to its cell phone app this week, an in-house fleet called JUMP.
And then, on Thursday, competitor Lyft announced its entrance to the local two-wheel frenzy.
As of this morning, hundreds of Lyft’s new scooters are scattered about Atlanta, ready for shareable vehicle fanatics to use—and potentially abuse—the new option.
Atlanta is among the first U.S. cities that will offer Lyft’s e-scooters, according to a news release.
Like Bird—probably the most prominent e-scooter provider in the city, if not the country—Lyft will charge $1 to boot up the rides and 15 cents for every minute on the road (or sidewalk).
As with all of the shareable e-scooter operations in Atlanta, Lyft’s new service will be incorporated into its cellphone app.
Unlike the competition, however, Lyft is working with city officials “to place docks for riders to park their scooters on streets in areas where there is high demand and near transit stations,” per the release.
The release of these few hundred scooters in Atlanta is also part of a new partnership between Lyft and the Atlanta Bicycle Coalition.
The ABC “recognizes the enormous potential electric scooters have to improve mobility and accelerate our push for safer streets for all,” said Rebecca Serna, ABC’s executive director, in a prepared statement. “We look forward to working alongside Lyft to support proven street safety interventions like protected bike lanes, which will make our streets safer for riding and our sidewalks safer for walking.”
Lyft’s decision might seem like a counterstrike without a discount, considering Uber’s new JUMP scooter program is marketed as cheaper than the rest of the pack—$1 to start, but just 10 cents per minute to ride.
Asked about the scheduling of the announcement, Sam Bond, the general manager of Lyft Southeast, had only this to say: “We’re excited to launch hundreds of scooters in Atlanta in partnership with the Atlanta Bike Coalition and Transformation Alliance. Compared to other operators, we are a one-stop shop for transportation—the only app you need to get where you need to go.”