I’ve been predicting the rise of the “Transportation Service Provider” — a consolidator of every mode of movement imaginable, integrated with technology, and designed to provide consumers with a suite of services for which they pay (as with telecommunications) one provider with a lot of money.
This is based on the assumption a single provider or oligopoly can emerge. Look to see some of today’s giants try to get even bigger and more diverse as fast as possible in order to dominate the market.
Here’s the latest example, via Michael Alexander.
Lyft and Uber want to be one-stop city transport apps
Lyft agreed on Monday to buy the core business of Motivate, the operator of bike-sharing programs like CitiBike. It may seem like a diversion — bikes aren’t nearly as big a market as cars — but there’s a reason the ride-hailing company is reportedly spending $250 million on the business.
Different forms of transportation are becoming more popular, particularly for covering short distances. In buying Motivate, Lyft is responding to Uber’s acquisition of the electric bike start-up Jump. And both companies are said to be quietly exploring the market for electric scooters, as existing players like Bird and Lime explode in popularity.
Both Lyft and Uber are betting that gaining footholds in those markets will eventually give them a way to offer users more options to get around. That could even extend to paying for subway and bus rides — Uber is already experimenting with allowing users to pay for public transit from inside its app.
So expect the two, both flush with cash from investors, to keep spending money trying to gain pole position in that race.