Lyft is rolling out its first electric scooters today

It's launching in Denver and expects to move into more cities by year's end.

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Dara Kerr Former senior reporter
Dara Kerr was a senior reporter for CNET covering the on-demand economy and tech culture. She grew up in Colorado, went to school in New York City and can never remember how to pronounce gif.
Marrian Zhou
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2 min read

Lyft's dockless electric scooters hit the streets of Denver on Thursday.

It's the first market where Lyft is offering the scooter rental service. Under the one-year pilot program, scooters cost a buck to unlock and 15 cents for each minute you ride. Riders can use the map in the Lyft app to see where to grab an available scooter.

Lyft says scooters and bikes offer an affordable option for people without cars to get to transit more conveniently. The company aims to get a million cars off the road by the end of next year, it said in a blog post in July, the same month it confirmed its purchase of bike sharing startup Motivate, now known as "Lyft Bikes."

In addition to the scooters, Lyft was granted a permit to deploy up to 500 electric bikes in Denver, according to The Denver Post. Lyft rival Uber is also launching a bike share program in the city, under the Jump name. Meanwhile, other scooter companies like Bird and Lime, already operate in Denver.

Scooters have become a controversial topic across the US with companies dropping their scooters onto city streets without any forewarning to lawmakers or residents. Some people have been happy about this new way of getting around congested cities. But other people have complained that riders don't follow the laws of the road and endanger pedestrians by riding on sidewalks and leaving the scooters wherever they feel like it -- blocking parking spots, bike racks and wheelchair access.

Denver battled scooter companies Bird and Lime in May after they flooded the city's streets with hundreds of scooters. Almost immediately, regulators banned the vehicles, which go 15 mph, and hammered out new rules of the road. At the end of July, Denver announced a pilot program in which five scooter companies and two electric-bike companies would get operating permits -- one of which was awarded to Lyft.

Last month, Lyft also got approval to operate electric scooters in Santa Monica, California, along with Uber's Jump, Bird and Lime. But San Francisco regulators snubbed Lyft, along with Uber, Bird and Lime, on granting these companies operating permits. The city instead gave permits to companies that have a clean track record of working with regulators before launching their services.

Lyft said that along with Denver and Santa Monica, it plans to launch its scooter service in 10 more cities by the end of the year. 

First published Sept. 6, 11:18 a.m. PT.
Update, 2:43 p.m.: Adds additional background information.

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