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Why Lyft President John Zimmer Thinks Scooters and Bikes Are Special

July 17, 2018, 5:26 PM UTC

Lyft’s plan to change how people get to the grocery store and commute to work involves scooters and bicycles.

Lyft co-founder and president John Zimmer said Tuesday at Fortune’s Brainstorm Tech Conference in Aspen, Colo. that his company’s mission has always been about providing an alternative to car ownership. And in some cases, “a bike or scooter may be the best way to get around,” he said, like when the local hardware store is just a mile from home.

In early July, Lyft bought the biggest bike-rental company, Motivate, as part of its push beyond cars. Zimmer did not say on how much Lyft paid, but insisted that reports about the acquisition costing $250 million were inaccurate, without elaborating.

He also commented on recent studies that claimed that online ride-hailing apps increase traffic congestion in cities, despite a lot of marketing by those companies that their services reduce the problem. “If that is true in certain instances, I’m not happy with that,” Zimmer said, while pointing out that other unspecified studies show that ride-hailing services, in fact, lead to fewer cars on the road.

In any case, increasing the use of bikes and scooters is a sure way to reduce traffic, he said.

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Zimmer recalled that Lyft’s early days were all “about survival” against bigger rival Uber. Fast forward to today, however, and Lyft has raised about $5 billion from investors with “the majority of that cash in the bank,” leaving it with a lot of money to expand and better compete with Uber than before.

Zimmer also said that Lyft is “not on a mission of taking the company public,” implying that the company will steer clear of an initial public offering for at least the short term.

Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi, on the other hand, said Monday during Brainstorm Tech that he remained committed to taking Uber public sometime in 2019.