Correction: A previous version of this article said Biketown had been sold to Lyft. The program remains city owned.
Biketown has a new operator—ride-share company Lyft.
Rumors began circulating last month that Lyft would buy Motivate, the company that runs Biketown. Today, Lyft officially announced their acquisition of Motivate, which is the largest bike-share company in the U.S.
The ride-share company will take over all of Motivate's contracts, including its deal with the City of Portland. Along with the promise of more capital poured into Biketown's existing infrastructure, Lyft's press release states that the company plans to transition to dockless bikes.
It's an exciting shift, since Biketown's docking system has proven to be one of the program's biggest drawbacks. Seattle switched to dockless bikes in January, and now has a ridership rate that's only second to New York's. Some of Motivate's other markets, including New York's CitiBikes, began piloting dockless programs this spring.
Madeline Kaye, a PR representative for Lyft, tells WW that there will be no immediate changes to Biketown, and that it's too early to announce when dockless bikes will be installed.
"Lyft will begin integrating bikes into the Lyft platform once the deal closes, but it's safe to assume that bikes will become a mode that can be selected within the Lyft app," says Kaye.
The buyout is Lyft's entrance into the bike-share market, a decision that rivals Uber's purchase of JUMP this spring.