Uber's next battle with Lyft could be over the electric scooters that are slowly taking over the country

Uber's next battle with Lyft could be over the electric scooters that are slowly taking over the country

Dara Khosrowshahi


  • Uber is applying for a scooter permit in San Francisco, Axios first reported Thursday.
  • Uber is the seventh company that has expressed interest in a permit - including perennial Uber archival Lyft.
  • Under the city's guidelines, only five companies will be given permits to operate 500 scooters each within San Francisco.

Ride-hailing giant Uber is looking to get in on the scooter business, Axios reported Thursday.

The scooter companies say that these simple vehicles are a cheap, efficient way to provide so-called "last mile" transportation solutions, for trips that are too long to walk but too short to warrant a car ride. In that sense, this move makes sense for Uber - and will put it right up against its archrival Lyft in a burgeoning new market.

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Uber confirmed to Axios the company is applying for a scooter permit in its hometown of San Francisco. The permit process was instituted after thousands of electric scooters descended on San Francisco in April with little-to-no-warning to city officials. However, despite the drama, these scooters have won plenty of fans.

With Uber joining the fray, at least seven companies are vying for a maximum of five scooter permits in San Francisco. These include the three companies that have already launched fleets in the city - Bird, LimeBike, and Spin - as well as newcomers, such as Lyft, Skip, and bike sharing company Ofo.


Uber did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Business Insider.

The permits allow a maximum of five companies to operate 500 each in San Francisco for a yearlong pilot program. The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency hopes to grant permits by the end of the month. Other cities across the country, including Seattle, Nashville, and Santa Monica, have all been targeted by the scooter companies, with worldwide expansion likely soon to follow.