Lyft Drops bad news

Lyft permanently shuts down Austin scooter operations amid massive company layoffs

Lyft shuts down Austin scooter operations amid massive company layoffs

Lyft Scooters
Lyft is dropping its scooter program in Austin. Photo courtesy of Lyft

Another unexpected victim of the global pandemic appears to be Lyft. On Wednesday, April 29, the transportation company said it was laying off nearly 1,000 employees, as well as ending scooter operations in Austin and San Jose, California. 

In an SEC filing submitted by Lyft chief financial officer Brian Roberts, the company said it was laying off 982 employees, about 17 percent of its workforce, blaming the impact of COVID-19 on the company. The news was first reported by CNBC.

In addition, the company has implemented a policy for a 12-week period beginning May 2020 that will reduce base salary for executive leadership by 30 percent, vice presidents by 20 percent, and all other employees by 10 percent. Members of the company's board of directors will forego 30 percent of their cash compensation for the quarter.

Though Lyft is headquartered in San Francisco, it unsurprisingly has a strong presence in the Capital City, including a regional driver's center located near Windsor Park in Northeast Austin. Lyft couldn't answer CultureMap's question as to how many of these layoffs are in Austin, saying: "We're not breaking down further by region, but all teams and regions were affected."

In another cost-cutting measure, Lyft is also removing all scooters from Austin roadways beginning April 29. This comes after six weeks of start and stop for the transpo startup. After Austin issued its stay home/work safe order in mid-March, Lyft removed its scooters, only to bring them back in early April to help mobilize critical healthcare workers. Less than a month later, that program has ended, but a Lyft spokesperson says it will be providing a $200 ride-sharing credit to those enrolled in the program.

“We’re grateful to our scooter riders in Austin as well as our partners in Austin city government," said a Lyft spokesperson via email. "We’re shifting resources and have made the tough decision to end scooter operations today, April 29. We continue to support riders’ essential travel needs during this time with other modes of reliable transportation.”

Lyft ride-hailing service, however, remains operational.