Lyft pulls electric scooters from US cities amidst market turmoil

Recalibration of the personal transport market continues

In the latest round of retrenchment in the last mile and personal transport market, ridesharing and scooter business 0'>Lyft has announced it is pulling its electric scooters from six US cities.

The company, which operates scooters and cycles in a number of US conurbations as well as offering ridesharing and car services over a wider area, is removing its scooters from Nashville, San Antonio, Atlanta, the Phoenix area, Dallas and Columbus.

The move means that Lyft will lay off about 20 employees from its bikes and scooters team. Some contractors responsible for scooter charging and repositioning are also losing their jobs.

“We’re choosing to focus on the markets where we can have the biggest impact,” a Lyft spokesperson told TechCrunch. “We’re continuing to invest in growing our bike and scooter business, but will shift resources away from smaller markets and toward bigger opportunities.”

Lyft’s move is the latest episode in the ongoing recalibration of the personal transport/scooter space. 0'>Uber has also pulled its JUMP bikes and scooters from a handful of markets, including San Diego, Providence and Atlanta. The company is also in the midst of a legal battle with the authorities in Los Angeles and may have to remove its scooters from the city’s streets if it fails to comply with data regulations.

Meanwhile Paris recently announced it was going to reduce its scooter providers from twelve companies to three after claims that the sheer volume of parked scooters were causing problems for pedestrians.

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Lyft claims that in spite of the retrenchment its operation is proving successful in markets like Denver, Miami, Santa Monica and Washington, D.C. It recently deployed new scooters manufactured for the company by Segway, which it claims have helped reduce its operating costs and have generated a 20 per cent increase in ridership.

The company is competing for a market which is expected to reach $41.98bn (£32.60bn, €38.1bn) by 2030 according to a study conducted by Grand View Research earlier in 2019.

The market for electric scooters is still in a degree of flux in some parts of Europe. Fredrik Hjelm, co-founder and chief executive of the scooter firm Voi Technology recently told the BBC that uncertainty caused by Brexit was the main reason for the delay in their arrival in the UK.

FURTHER READING: Los Angeles and UBER in electric scooter data row

FURTHER READING: E-scooter start-up Voi Technology raises $85m in latest funding round

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