Shifting Gears

Lyft has no plans to pull dockless scooters from Austin for now, says company

Lyft has no plans to pull dockless scooters from Austin, says company

Lyft Scooters
Lyft is putting the brakes on its dockless scooter service in San Antonio. Photo courtesy of Lyft

Despite putting the brakes on its dockless scooter service across the country, Lyft is staying parked in the Capital City. Beginning this week, the ridehailing and micromobility service is removing scooters six cities across the country to focus on markets like Austin.

“Lyft does not have plans to pull scooters from Austin," said the company in a statement to CultureMap. "We look forward to continuing working alongside the City of Austin to provide micromobility solutions for residents. Lyft scooters will continue operating in San Diego; Austin; Denver; Los Angeles; Miami; Minneapolis; Washington, D.C.; and the Bay Area.”

Six other cities, however, have less up-lyft-ing news. Lyft will cease scooter operations in San Antonio, Dallas, Nashville, Atlanta, Columbus, and Phoenix beginning November 22.

Though it's hard to imagine a time when people weren't zooming down sidewalks or blocking street traffic, Lyft only launched the service in Austin last December. According City of Austin, the company now operates 2,000 e-scooters within the city limits. (By comparison, the seemingly ubiquitous Lime has 5,000 scooters in Austin.)

Of course, Austin's scooter rollout has not been without controversy — and tragedy. On February 1, an Irish exchange student at the University of Texas at Austin was struck by a car while driving his Lime scooter northbound on the southbound side of the IH-35 Service Road. He died the following day. 

In April, the Centers for Disease Control released highly publicized report that studied dockless scooter-related injuries in Austin. Among the key findings is that nearly half of those studied suffered a "severe" injury, including bone fractures; nerve, tendon, or ligament injuries; severe bleeding, or sustained organ damage.

Despite the report, Austin lawmakers have struggled with how to regulate the scooters, leading to very little regulation at all. Unlike cities like San Antonio, who banned scooters from sidewalks and crowded tourist attractions, Austin's only notable rule is that riders may not operate dockless scooters or electric bikes on trails. A full list of the City of Austin's regulations can be found here.