A Bikeshare Showdown Between Uber and Lyft

Lyft may soon not be the sole bikeshare operation in San Francisco as the city looks to expand the system and open the market up to other companies.

June 10, 2019, 10:00 AM PDT

By Camille Fink

Ford GoBike

paul.wasneski / Flickr

Aaron Short reports that Uber and Lyft are battling over the San Francisco bikeshare market. This summer the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency plans to expand its bikeshare program and allow new operators to offer dockless e-bikes, including Uber with its Jump bikes.

But Lyft, which runs the Ford GoBike program, says that its acquisition of the Motivate bikeshare company in 2015 included an exclusive contract with the Metropolitan Transportation Commission to operate in San Francisco Bay Area counties.

Lyft says it has invested millions of dollars to install bikeshare facilities and infrastructure and allowing competitors to enter the market violates the contract with MTC. Short reports that some bike advocates would welcome the addition of new operators, which they believe will help lower the cost of bikeshare and improve service quality.

"But the conflict between Uber and Lyft encapsulates a broader debate over how transportation should work — whether cities should allow freewheeling capitalism to take place on their streets or assume a top-down approach over for-profit vendors, a scheme often called a 'public-private partnership,'" notes Short.

Tuesday, June 4, 2019 in Streetsblog USA

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