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Lyft pulls scooters from 6 cities, says it'll move toward 'bigger opportunities'

The ride-hailing company also lays off 20 employees from its bike and scooter team.

Lyft's scooters didn't appear to quite catch on in a handful of cities.

Lyft is scaling back its scooter operations in several cities across the US. The ride-hailing company implied Friday that ridership hasn't been what was expected in these cities, so it's focusing on other places.

Six markets in total will be losing Lyft's scooters, as first reported by TechCrunch, including Nashville, Tennessee; San Antonio; Atlanta; Dallas; Columbus, Ohio; and the Phoenix area.

"We're choosing to focus on the markets where we can have the biggest impact," a Lyft spokesman said in an email. "We're continuing to invest in growing our bike and scooter business, but will shift resources away from smaller markets and toward bigger opportunities."

The dockless, rentable, electric scooter trend started with just a couple of companies operating in a handful of cities. Now it's a competitive land grab, with more than a dozen operators that've dropped scooters in hundreds of cities around the world.

Lyft said it'll continue to operate its scooters in 13 other markets, which include Austin, Texas; Denver; Los Angeles; and Washington, DC. The company also has an expansive countrywide bike rental program that it took over when it acquired the docked bicycle rental service Motivate last year.

Roughly 400 employees work on Lyft's bike and scooter team. But as the company "shifts resources" it confirmed that it's laying off about 20 of those people. This is the company's second round of layoffs in the department since March.

While Lyft is pulling scooters from some cities, it's bringing back its dockless electric bicycles to three California cities: San Francisco, Oakland and San Jose. 

After battery packs on several of Lyft's e-bikes burst into flames over the summer, Lyft disabled the vehicles. Last Thursday, the company announced it's now working with a different battery supplier and will be rolling the bikes back out in coming weeks.