Lyft Sues SF Over Bikesharing Contract Violation

Lyft, the ride-hailing startup, has filed a lawsuit against San Francisco claiming officials in the city are violating a contract with the ride-hailing company.

According to a report in The Verge citing the lawsuit, Lyft contends it has the exclusive rights to run a bikesharing program in the city based on the contract.  San Francisco’s Municipal Transportation Agency argues it has the right to sign partnerships with vendors that are dockless or stationless and that Lyft’s contract only gives it exclusive rights to docked bikes.  The Verge noted that Lyft wants a temporary restraining order to stop the city from issuing any bikeshare permits to additional vendors.

Motivate, which is owned by Lyft and operates the Ford GoBike bikeshare program in the city, is a docked program that offered — up until recently — electric and non-electric bikes. Lyft got rid of the e-bikes in San Francisco after reports surfaced of malfunctions that could harm users.  The only competitor in the city is Jump, an Uber-owned bike share program. Uber offers a dockless option, noted the report. Lyft contends Uber was given an exemption under the contract because Motivate couldn’t deploy its own dockless option at the start of 2018. The Uber license lasted 18 months and covers 550 bikes in the city. It expires on July 9, reported The Verge. With the license expiring, Lyft argues San Francisco is trying to expand the number of bikeshare vendors, which violated the agreement. The agreement was signed in 2015 between Motivate and the Bay Area Metropolitan Transportation Commission. Lyft paid $250 million for Motivate in 2018.

Lyft said Motivate agreed to spend tens of millions of dollars putting in place the infrastructure that’s needed to create the bikeshare program and expand it in exchange for getting the exclusive rights. “We are eager to continue investing in the regional bikeshare system with the MTC and San Francisco. We need San Francisco to honor its contractual commitments to this regional program — not change the rules in the middle of the game,” a Lyft spokesperson told The Verge in the report. “We are eager to quickly resolve this, so that we can deliver on our plans to bring bikes to every neighborhood in San Francisco.”




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