Lyft gets into bike-sharing with acquisition of Motivate

Tim Maytom

Ride-sharing platform Lyft has acquired Motivate, the largest bike-share operator in North America. Motivate, which operates both CitiBike in New York and Ford GoBike in the Bay Area, among others, was reponsible for around 80 per cent of the bike share trips made in 2017.

"Lyft and Motivate have both been committed for years to the same goal of reducing the need for personal car ownership by providing reliable and affordable ways to move around our cities," said John Zimmer, co-founder and president of Lyft. "Bringing together Lyft and Motivate will accelerate our collaboration with cities and deliver even better experiences to our passengers and riders."

The acquisition is part of Lyft's Green Cities Initiative, which has also seen the firm pledge to work towards carbon neutrality. Lyft will invest to establish bike offerings in its major markets and pursue growth and innovations in areas where Motivate already operates, particularly surrounding dockless and pedal-assist electric bikes.

As part of the deal, Lyft has acquired Motivate's technology and corporate functions, including its existing contracts in many major US cities. Motivate's bike maintenance and servicing operations will remain a standalone business, retaining the Motivate name, and will continue to support bikeshare systems across North America. Motivate's fleet of bicycles is estimated to exceed 30,000 vehicles spread across the US.

"How we get around cities is changing rapidly, and the combination of Lyft and Motivate will bring tremendous new resources and energy to making sure that bikeshare plays a fundamental role in the new urban mobility," said Steve Koch, executive chairman of Motivate. "Together, we believe that integrating our services in partnership with the public sector will transform the urban transportation landscape, increase bike ridership, and make our cities better."

The terms of the acquisition have not been revealed, but earlier rumours about the deal suggested Lyft would be paying around $250m (£189m) to acquire Motivate. It's also not clear how integrated the two firms will become, for example, whether or not users of the Lyft app will be able to access bike hire through the same platform.

Lyft isn't the first ride-sharing operator to invest in pedal power. In April, Uber acquired Jump, a dockless bike startup that focuses on electric pedal-assisted bikes that can be locked to any bike rack or pole.