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Lyft follows Uber into bike-sharing lane, buys owner of CitiBike

London

LYFT competes with Uber for ride-hailing customers. Now it is following its rival into bike-sharing, as the companies move to diversify the kinds of transportation services they offer.

Lyft said on Monday that it was buying the core operations of Motivate, the parent company of CitiBike and several similar programmes in US cities. The business, to be renamed Lyft Bikes, will maintain control of Motivate's contracts with New York, Chicago and six other cities.

The parts of Motivate that maintain bikes will remain a standalone company and continue to service Lyft Bikes.

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Financial terms were not disclosed, but media reports had previously suggested that Lyft would pay around US$250 million for the business.

While Uber and Lyft dominate the US ride-hailing market, other modes of transportation are gaining popularity.

The bike-sharing market is not huge, but its growth could cut into the companies' core business (as could the surprising success of electric scooters). Offering alternatives to car rides allows Uber and Lyft to keep people using their services when taking a car makes little sense, particularly for short trips.

The model has proved popular elsewhere, particularly in China and Europe.

Uber entered the bike-sharing industry in April when it bought Jump, which runs networks of electric bikes, reportedly for close to US$200 million.

Motivate is the largest provider of bike-sharing services in the United States. The company, which has 800 employees, estimates that it was responsible for 80 per cent of the bike-share trips taken in the country last year. Lyft is betting that the acquisition can help it compete with Uber. NYTIMES