After A Stream of Shambles, Lyft Launches New E-Bikes 

Lyft and Uber, the popular ride hailing apps that allow people to request a ride to a destination of their choosing, have seen some of their lowest numbers due to COVID-19. Uber, who reports their customer platform quarterly, saw 11 million users in the final months of 2019. Yet less than a year later that number dropped by half, reporting 55 million riders in the second quarter of 2020. Similarly, Lyft boasted 22.9 million riders at the end of 2019. A major decrease to the 12.5 million active users at the end of 2020. 

These two companies aren't the only businesses to fall victim to the virus. Many businesses furloughed, fired, or advised their employees to seek unemployment benefits. However, the traditional and especially electric bicycle industry boomed. Hoping to join in on this success? Lyft, the rideshare app. Thinking of new ways to serve customers while keeping them socially distant and safe. 

Debuting this month in San Francisco, the new e-bike launches after a slew of failed attempts. Shortly after Lyft purchased Motivate, a bike-sharing company in 2018, they began introducing e-bikes in major cities across the United States. Unfortunately, the success was short-lived. In 2019 after dozens of people reported injuries due to braking malfunctions, Lyft pulled an estimate of 1,000 e-bikes from New York City. Soon after, the bicycles were also jerked from Washington, D.C., and San Francisco. Resulting in lawsuits from the faulty brakes and a few hazardous instances of the e-bikes on fire. 

However, with unprecedented times comes extraordinary measures. And as e-bikes sales grew a whopping 145% from 2019 to 2020, now seems like a good time as ever to launch new and safer models. Despite the rocky start, Lyft has chosen San Francisco residents to be part of the beta testing. Allowing riders to give feedback and experience the bicycles’new features. These include a handlebar equipped with information such as speed and distance plus an improved battery life for longer journeys. 

Following the launch in California, Lyft is planning to deliver their e-bikes to Chicago in the fall. And, if all goes according to plan, more cities will get to experience the electric bicycle phenomenon sooner rather than later.