Bikeshare Competitor Warned Not to Come to San Francisco

Seattle, which will be losing it's bikeshare program after just over two years, may wish to have San Francisco's problem: a second bikeshare company wants to enter the marketplace, though without permits.
January 19, 2017, 10am PST | Irvin Dawid
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[Updated 1/20/2017] China-based Bluegogo is rumored to want to disrupt the bikeshare market in San Francisco by placing as many as "tens of thousands" of their bicycles on San Francisco streets," reported Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez for the San Francisco Examiner on Jan. 11. The clearly marked blue bicycles "will be available for rent via an app."

Why doesn't Bluegogo go 800 miles north and drop their bikes in Seattle in March, when Pronto! is expected to exit the city?

Here's the problem: Bluegogo has not sought permission, and they would be occupying city sidewalks without the requisite permits. Last month the city booted Uber's self-driving cars because they refused to apply for permits, and Uber is based in San Francisco.

"Now city agencies have threatened legal action against bikeshare company Bluegogo should it expand into San Francisco, the San Francisco Examiner has learned," reports Rodriguez on Jan. 17.  

San Francisco Public Works and the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, the two city agencies with most oversight over bikes and city streets, ...warned Bluegogo CEO Gang Li [via letter] that his company has no legal grounds to expand into San Francisco under its current business model.

Bay Area Bike Share, launched as a pilot project by the regional air district in August 2013, and now operated by Motivate under contract to the Metropolitan Transportation Commission, is poised to expand from 700 to 7,000 bikes.

This spring, BABS will undergo a name change Ford GoBike to reflect Ford Motor Company as the new title sponsor and an important partner of the program. Ownership and operation will continue under Motivate under contract to MTC.

Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez

Hat tip to Roger Rudick of Streetsblog San Francisco.

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Published on Tuesday, January 17, 2017 in San Francisco Examiner
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