Commuters in Denver with relatively short distances to travel are getting a new transportation option: electric scooters made by Chinese company Xiaomi and offered for rent by ride-sharing company Lyft. The company previously received permission to introduce the scooter rentals by Denver officials, which have also approved a number of competitors. Availability will be somewhat limited, at least initially.
Lyft plans to deploy 350 electric scooters in Denver to start with, 100 of which will be located in so-called “opportunity zones” featuring low-incomes and inadequate public transportation. The scooters will be made available each day starting at 6AM but won’t offered after 8PM. Whether the availability will expand in the future is unclear.
Customers will need to pay $1 to unlock the electric scooters, after which the cost is set at 15 cents per minute of use; that’ll result in about $1 per 6.5 minutes of operation. The scooters top out around 15MPH and are intended for short travel only — the batteries have a range of about 15 miles per charge.
The downtime at night will be an opportunity to charge, service, and transport the scooters, according to The Verge, which received confirmation about the rollout from Lyft. Full-time employees will be tasked with keeping the batteries charged and the scooters distributed; the company plans to carefully watch the deployment and be “very hands-on” in monitoring the rollout.
Electric scooters offer a potential transportation solution for commuters who only need to travel short distances. Rather than waiting for a bus or taking their car, Lyft users will be able to pull out their phone, unlock a scooter, and then take off to their destination. This could help alleviate congestion on roads while reducing pollution from vehicles.
SOURCE: The Verge