Email reveals Lyft expanding into e-scooter business in SF

Ride-hail giant Lyft plans to expand into the e-scooter business in San Francisco.

That’s according to emails sent by consultancy firm Ground Floor Public Affairs to the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, which were first obtained by news site The Information and independently confirmed by the San Francisco Examiner.

The proposal comes on the heels of new regulations to limit rentable, mobile-phone app-enabled scooters. Those permits have not yet been made available to scooter companies, according to the SFMTA. Importantly, they will only be awarded to five companies under the rules approved by the SFMTA Board of Directors.

Electric motor scooter companies Lime, Spin and Bird have already launched and been lambasted by the public for not penalizing riders illegally rolling down sidewalks, and for some parked scooters that block walkways.

Now it seems Lyft wants to join in on the fun.

In a May 9 email between Ground Floor Public Affairs consultant Lindsay Calderone and SFMTA obtained by the Examiner, the political consultant discussed Lyft’s plans with SFMTA Acting Livable Streets Director Jamie Parks.

SEE RELATED: Companies pledge to curb scofflaw riders as new regulations, cap on scooters approved

“We are now working with Lyft on scooters,” Calderone wrote, “do you know when the permit applications will be available?”

Parks wrote in response that the new e-scooter permit applications would be ready “within the next 2 weeks,” and that SFMTA would email all “potential operators” including Lyft.

Ground Floor Public Affairs founder and principal Alex Tourk, who also consults on technology sector angel investor Ron Conway’s sf.citi advocacy group, also emailed SFMTA on May 16 to request a meeting along with “Lyft’s newest team member, Caroline Samponaro.”

“Confidentially, she is spearheading Lyft’s scooter, bike and alternative mobility initiatives and would very much like to introduce her to you,” Tourk wrote. “Lyft is thrilled to have hired her as they work on expanding their services.”

Emails sent to any city agency, with few exceptions, are available to any member of the public under the Sunshine Ordinance.

Lyft did not respond to requests for comment, and Ground Floor Public Affairs declined to comment.

Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez
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Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez

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