Updated: Oct 17, 2019
Lyft officially launched their fleet of electric scooters in downtown San Jose, here's what I thought.
Lyft scooters in San Jose, California
On June 6, 2019 Lyft scooters started to appear in and around downtown San Jose. They are very easy to identify with their black and pink color scheme. They are also brand-new so I couldn't help but be one of the first to ride them before they experience the typical wear and tear of other established electric scooters. Lyft also happens to be the first company to have a permit to operate in this city.
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The Lyft scooter experience
Since I live near downtown San Jose, it wasn't hard for me to find a bunch of Lyft scooters parked near my residence. The first thing I did was open my Lyft app to see how the company would incorporate their new fleet of scooters with their existing ride-hailing app.
As soon as you open the Lyft app (please keep in mind I am an Android user, so the settings may vary for Apple iPhone users), you will see a "Bikes and scooters" section towards the bottom of the app. After clicking on it, the map will change and it will automatically locate the nearest Lyft scooters closest to you.
You'll be able to determine the amount of power the battery has and the range it will be able to travel in miles. Just like all of the other electric scooter companies out there, it costs $1.00 to unlock and $0.15 cents per min. So it's still a fairly cheap transportation alternative.
You can also "reserve" a scooter (up to 15 minutes) in case you don't want anyone else stealing your scooter. When you do reserve a scooter, the clock starts ticking and you're billed $0.15 cents per minute immediately. This is a good feature that prevents people from just reserving a scooter and not using it immediately.
When you find your Lyft scooter, you just unlock it and then you can start riding immediately. The one great benefit that sticks out to me is the speed at which you can unlock and also lock your scooter. I'm not sure if it's because of Lyft established network or what, but I like the speed of unlocking and locking. Who else doesn't like sitting there waiting for this to happen? I sure as hell don't.
Brand new scooters are always faster then used ones and these Lyft scooters are very smooth and fast. I really enjoyed the ride around the neighborhood. They are very quiet and marked clearly with red (press to stop) and green (press to go) buttons. I also like the extra braking mechanism on the back wheel of the scooter. All you have to do is step on the back wheel and you'll come to a slowed stop. The red braking button on the handle bar stops a little more forcefully, so just be careful when using that or else you might fall off.
If you are riding Lyft scooters for the first time, you'll also receive a welcome email with the subject line, "How to ride Lyft scooters".
Overall, the entire simplicity of using the Lyft scooter in San Jose was very simple and enjoyable. If you already have the Lyft app on your phone, finding a scooter is automatic. The unlocking and locking time is almost immediate with little to no waiting for the systems to sync up. This is my favorite part of using Lyft scooters and of course the entire ride is very smooth with easy braking. Have fun riding!