San Francisco plans to drop Lyft rental bike and e-bike program for city-run system

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) — A new report outlines three options for a municipal bike-share program in San Francisco, including the city owning and operating its own program. The other is an entity owned and operated system and the third is a public and privately operated system.

District 5 Supervisor Dean Preston commissioned this report and said he would prefer the city own and operate its own bike-sharing program.

“I see bike share as an ideal part of our public transportation system in San Francisco,” Supervisor Preston said. “So the city is running buses, and I’d like to see it where we also control a bike-sharing program and have a strong program and make the kind of infrastructure changes that we need to bring all over the city up to ‘to the streets, bike lanes, spaces dedicated to bikes and really encourage a growth in bike transport.”

The bike share program in San Francisco includes regular bikes and electric bikes.

Currently, Lyft owns and operates the system called Bay Wheels.

VIDEO: San Francisco Standard on Lyft’s Bay Wheels, the future of e-bikes in the city

The report says that if San Francisco took over its own system, the operator could be SFMTA or a nonprofit created by the city.

The city is expected to shell out around $33.2 million for the 4,500 bikes and nearly 8,800 train platforms. Additionally, annual operating costs range from $13.3 million to $18.2 million, according to the report.

“It would be a fraction of what taxpayers were paying, probably more than $3 or $4 million a year,” Supervisor Preston said. “So I think if it’s a priority, the funds are there. I think the upfront acquisition costs are the biggest hurdle. But it’s expensive, but doable if that’s the route we want to go down. .”

The Mayor of London Breed’s office sent out a statement saying in part:

“We understand that there are costs and benefits to both transitioning to and operating a public bike share program, and we believe now is the time for this conversation and what should be considered in the future.”

The contract with Lyft runs until 2027.

SFTMA said in a statement, “It would be costly for the city to terminate our current contract with Lyft, which continues to fund system infrastructure and operations in San Francisco and the region at no cost to taxpayers. However, c It’s a good time to reflect and plan what comes next, and how we ensure a sustainable and useful system for the future given all the benefits of bike sharing.”

The SFMTA said that currently no public funding mechanism has been identified for a public bike-sharing scheme.

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No decision has been made on this.

Supervisor Preston, there would be more transparency in terms of how much people are charged for using bikes. He said he’s heard growing frustration from people in his district and the city over higher fees to use the bikes.

“We have no real regulatory control over this pricing and we don’t even have the data,” Supervisor Preston said, discussing part of the problem. “We don’t know if Lyft is making huge profits from this or losing money. They don’t provide this information. This was requested as part of the report. They don’t share any data with the city, it tells us so remains a bit in the dark, so I think there are huge benefits in terms of transparency, accountability, affordability, access, and equity in moving in a direction where there are more public control.”

ABC7 has contacted Lyft for a statement.

RELATED: Lyft vs. Uber: How Their Dockless Electric Bikes Bay Wheels, JUMP Compare

Supervisor Preston said it could also help maximize the use of bike-sharing and make it as affordable as possible to get more people out of private vehicles.

“We are in a climate crisis, where we need to look at our transportation, which is the biggest source of emissions in San Francisco and we need to think boldly about how to get people walking, using public transportation and to use bicycles,” Supervisor Preston said.

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