Lyft Acquires Citi Bike’s Parent Company Motivate to Enter the Bike-Sharing Market

It plans to enter more cities

The companies didn’t mention whether they plan to repaint the bicycles to match Lyft’s pink branding. - Credit by Getty Images
Headshot of Marty Swant

Citi Bike, a bicycle-sharing network ubiquitous in New York, is getting a new owner.

Lyft, the ride-hailing company originally known for its pink mustaches, announced it’s acquiring Motivate, the parent company of Citi Bike and other bike-sharing networks. The deal, announced today, gives Lyft access to Motivate’s technology, business operations and existing city contracts even while Motivate maintains its own independent business for bicycle maintenance and servicing. The two-wheeled fleet will also allow Lyft to directly compete with its rival, Uber, which acquired its own bike-sharing company in April.

Since arriving in New York City in May 2013, the blue, Citi-branded bicycles have become a popular way to get around Manhattan, Brooklyn and other boroughs. Customers can walk up to a rack, swipe their credit card and have a ride for as cheap as $3 for 30 minutes or $12 for a day of unlimited half-hour trips.

“Lyft and Motivate have both been committed for years to the same goal of reducing the need for personal car ownership by providing reliable and affordable ways to move around our cities,” Lyft co-founder and president John Zimmer said in a statement. “Bringing together Lyft and Motivate will accelerate our collaboration with cities and deliver even better experiences to our passengers and riders.”

Terms of the deal were not disclosed. However, on Sunday, Bloomberg News reported Lyft and Motivate were nearing an agreement of around $250 million. (That’s about $50 million more than what Uber reportedly paid in April for Jump in a deal that was valued around $200 million, according to Tech Crunch.)

In a blog post announcing the acquisition, Lyft said the company plans to “establish bike offerings in our major markets” as well as continue to expand Motivate’s existing markets. The companies didn’t mention whether they plan to repaint the bicycles to match Lyft’s pink branding.

While Citi Bike is the most popular of Motivate’s properties, there are several others including Ford GoBike in San Francisco, Divvy in Chicago, Blue Bikes in Boston, Capital Bikeshare in Washington, D.C. and Nice Ride in Minneapolis. According to Lyft, 80 percent of bikeshare trips in the U.S. were via systems operated by Motivate. Last month, 1.8 million trips were taken on Citi Bikes in New York while Chicago as the second most popular market with 401,000 trips, according to Motivate’s website.

“How we get around cities is changing rapidly, and the combination of Lyft and Motivate will bring tremendous new resources and energy to making sure that bikeshare plays a fundamental role in the new urban mobility,” Motivate executive chairman Steve Koch said in a statement. “Together, we believe that integrating our services in partnership with the public sector will transform the urban transportation landscape, increase bike ridership and make our cities better.”


@martyswant martin.swant@adweek.com Marty Swant is a former technology staff writer for Adweek.
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