A new name seems poised to join Columbus' electric-scooter competition, but the company isn't sharing details about its plan.
Transportation company Lyft, known mainly for its ride-sharing services, sent market manager Chet Ridenour earlier this month to speak to the Clintonville Area Commission about bringing Lyft scooters to the neighborhood.
According to commissioners, Ridenour's presentation was light on details.
Commission member Judy Minister said it was the third presentation "in the last year or so" from a transportation company, but it was "the shortest presentation we've heard from any of them."
She said there was "nothing notable" in Ridenour's presentation, which was no surprise, she said.
"The only reason they're coming is because they're required by the contract they have with the city of Columbus to present to us," she said. "So they have a contractual obligation to come; it's not because they want to be there or because they're so public-minded."
When reached by phone, Ridenour said he could not comment regarding Lyft scooters and declined even to recap the presentation he had given to the CAC.
He directed ThisWeek to Lyft's communications team, which offered a statement and did not respond to questions or requests for more information.
"Sustainable, convenient, and affordable transit options like scooters are key to Lyft's mission to create the world's best transportation," the statement said. "We look forward to working hand in hand with local partners as we explore bringing Lyft scooters to Columbus."
Lyft would join Bird and Lime scooters in Columbus, both of which were launched last year.
The battery-powered scooters are activated via a cellphone app for a fee; riders may leave them on sidewalks when finished, without docking them.
Commissioner Libby Wetherholt said the scooters aren't seen as entirely negative in Clintonville, but "the two biggest concerns" are with how scooter operators ride and where they leave the scooters.
"We have some concerns, particularly when the scooters are left in the middle of the sidewalks and things like that, because we have a fairly high number of visually impaired people and older adults," she said. "There's always some concern about the speed of some of the scooters."
Lyft scooters can travel up to 15 mph, according to the company's website.
Minister agreed scooters could cause issues when left behind by riders.
"We go to the trouble of having handicap ramps put in and then someone throws a scooter in the middle of one," she said.
Ultimately, Minister said, she doesn't believe scooters are as popular in Clintonville as they are in other neighborhoods. She said though there's "some novelty" to the scooters, cyclists have their own bikes and enough people walk in Clintonville that they are not a necessity.
She said if Lyft does launch its scooters locally, she expects it won't be a major presence for long.
"They start off with a bang with lots of bikes and scooters dumped everywhere ... and then they dissipate," she said.