Starting Saturday, Lyft scooters will no longer be available in Columbus, just months after coming to the city. The company is also leaving Nashville and San Antonio.
A Lyft spokesperson said in a statement that the company is "shifting resources."
Harvey Miller, director of Ohio State's Center for Urban and Regional Analysis, says the company may be leaving because scooters are a high-cost low-revenue business.
“Micromobility is very tough because of the high cost and low revenues,” Miller explains. “I think scooters are a particular problem because it's a very competitive business so it's downward pressure on price.”
He cites data from Louisville that tracks scooter use and price points.
“One of the big issues with scooters is these things do not have a long life span. The estimates vary,” Miller says. “There was a study in Louisville that said the average scooter lasts like 28 days. And they disappear because of vandalism, theft, things like that. Just basic wear and tear.”
The exodus of Lyft scooters reminds Miller of when Car2Go left Columbus.
“We are offloading our mobility and transportation to private sector companies, and they don't have a commitment to the market,” Miller says. “Look at Car2Go. They were here and they left with a two-week notice, and some people were depending on Car2Go.”
Lyft entered the Columbus scooter scene in June. Lime, Bird and Spin also operate scooters in the city. Any one vendor is capped at 500 scooters.