Yesterday, rideshare giant Lyft announced via its blog that it has acquired Motivate, the New York City-based company that operates bike-sharing systems in cities throughout the United States—including Chicago's Divvy program. The City of Chicago entered a contract with Motivate (then known as Alta Bicycle Share) to launch Divvy in 2013, installing stations throughout the city and stocking them with bikes.
Don't expect Divvy's bright-blue bikes to turn pink or begin sporting Lyft's nifty LED dashboard gadget anytime soon—according to Lyft's post, “Motivate’s bike maintenance and servicing operations will remain a standalone business, retaining the Motivate name.” So, while Lyft will take on the contract it has with the city to operate Divvy and provide the technology that makes it function, the new ownership won't have an immediate impact on Chicago's bike-share infrastructure (at least not until the city's contract is up for renegotiation).
Now that Lyft is the owner of the largest bike-share provider in the U.S., you can expect the company to find interesting ways to merge its two businesses. WIRED proposes that Lyft-owned bike-share stations could eventually double as dedicated Lyft rideshare pick-up zones, providing designated spots for passengers to hail rides and prevent city streets from being clogged with double-parked cars. Additionally, while Divvy already boasts its own app, in the future you might be able to open up your Lyft app and purchase a Divvy day pass.
Lyft isn't the first rideshare company to break into Chicago's bike-share market—earlier this year, Uber's JUMP bike-share service launched on the South Side as part of the city's dockless bike-share pilot. Now that Lyft has a stake in Divvy, it seems inevitable that the company will do anything in its power to keep its biggest competitor on the sidelines, which doesn't exactly bode well for the future of dockless bike-sharing throughout the rest of Chicago.