Lyft has removed its scooters and shared bicycles from the region citing a lack of longterm commitments from area municipalities.
Lyft said it is disappointed to end bike and scooter service for Lyft customers in Los Angeles.
They company said it remains committed to micromobility as a critical tool to deliver its core mission to help cities establish robust transportation networks that prioritize shared mobility over car ownership.
However, they said experiences in multiple North American markets has reinforced a belief that micromobility (scooters and bikes) should be run through long term public-private partnerships with a limited number of operators.
“We have made the tough decision to exit the Santa Monica and Los Angeles dockless bike and scooter market where we operate under short term permits as of November 14,” said Lyft spokesperson Jordan Levine. We look forward to the upcoming opportunities for longer term contracts to restart our bike and scooter services in the region, and in the meantime, we will continue to offer rideshare and car rentals through the Lyft platform in the Los Angeles Metro.”
Santa Monica has been regulating bikes/scooters through an extended pilot program. The current iteration includes four approved companies — Lyft, Spin, Veo and Wheels — supplying about 2,200 devices in Santa Monica neighborhoods, all regulated by the Santa Monica Department of Transportation.
The existing Phase 2 Pilot Program has been running since July 1, 2021. When it ends on September 30, 2023, it will have run for two years and three months. The plan at that point is to establish a contract model with one or two operators for a minimum of three years, with a total five-year term possible. The City will be begin recruiting its two contract providers in January 2023.
A contract model would give the city more control over operations including the ability to influence rider rates and encourage equity efforts. The contract would also cover operational service levels, penalties and contract termination information.
The loss of Lyft leaves the city without a local bikeshare provider. Metro operates its own bikeshare program with bikes available at several Expo line stations. Veo has a vehicle that is technically a bike but functions predominantly as a sit-down scooter. Wheels also has vehicles that have a seat but no pedals.
Santa Monica officials said they do not plan on making changes to the current provider mix until the pilot programs expires.
“The City intends on sticking with the three remaining shared mobility operators — Spin, Veo, and Wheels — through the term of the existing Pilot Program, and then selecting up to two operators for the following contracted phase,” said Communications & Public Information Manager Constance Farrell. “Veo currently operates Class II e-bikes, while Wheels operates sit-down scooters. For the next group of contracted operator(s), the City will seek to ensure that one or both (if there are two operators selected) deploy enough e-bikes to meet community demand. And as mentioned, Metro Bike Share will continue to operate.”