Lyft is suing San Francisco to prevent competing bikeshares from moving in

Lyft filed a lawsuit against San Francisco today alleging that city authorities are violating a contract with the transportation company that gives Lyft the exclusive rights to operate bicycle sharing programs in the area. The Municipal Transportation Agency of San Francisco, on the other hand, says that it has the authority to sign partnerships with suppliers without a dock (also called without a station), and that the Lyft contract grants exclusivity only in actions for coupled bicycles. Lyft is seeking a temporary restraining order to prevent the city from issuing bicycle permits to new vendors.

As of today, Lyft owns the company Motivate, which operates the Ford GoBike bikeshare program in San Francisco, a coupled program that until recently offered both electric and non-electric bicycles, among many others throughout the country. (Lyft removed electric bicycles from city streets in April after reports of dangerous malfunctions). No other company that saves, owned by Uber. Jump operates a bicycle shared in the city, but Uber is an option without a pier. Lyft says that Uber was granted an exemption under its contract because Motivate was unable to implement its own docking option in early 2018. Uber's license was for 18 months and 550 bicycles citywide, and the next one expires month on July 9.

With the expiration of Uber's license, Lyft now claims that the city of San Francisco is seeking to expand shared bike providers in violation of an 2015 exclusivity agreement that the Bay Area Metropolitan Transportation Commission signed with Motivate, which Lyft acquired last year for around $ 250 million. In fact, Lyft says that San Francisco, which accepted the terms of the contract as part of the MTC, is breaking the rules by requesting new suppliers without a base. As part of the contract, Lyft says that Motivate agreed to invest tens of millions of dollars in building the infrastructure necessary to create their shared bike and expand it over time in exchange for exclusivity.

"We look forward to continuing to invest in the regional bike sharing system with MTC and San Francisco. that San Francisco fulfills its contractual commitments with this regional program, not that it changes the rules in the middle of the game ", says a spokesman of Lyft The Verge ." We are anxious to solve this quickly, so that we can fulfill with our plans to take bicycles to all neighborhoods in San Francisco. "

The dispute is not coming out of nowhere, Lyft has been fighting with San Francisco for this contract for months, according to a San Francisco Chronicle ] published late last month, Lyft president John Zimmer wrote that the city's MTA demanded that "stop publishing, requesting or accepting new requests for permits from or Other operators (bicycles); or issuing new permits to other operators "until the alleged breaches of the Lyft contract can be discussed." The official position of the city is that Lyft misunderstands the terms of its contract with the Bay Area Regional MTC, and San Francisco He refused to enter the dispute resolution process, and as a result, Lyft sued.

"As we will explain to the court, the agreement between Motivate and the City was about a coupled bicycle sharing system," said John Coté, director of Communications from the San Francisco City Attorney's Office, Dennis Herrara, in a statement to TechCrunch . "It does not give Lyft the right to a monopoly on bicycle sharing in San Francisco. Lyft can apply for a permit for bicycles without a pier on equal terms with all others. "

San Francisco wants to expand the number of Motivate sharing vehicles from the current 2,000 to more than 11,000, and wants to do so with the help of new, non-port providers. Lyft says that Motivate has committed to expanding its fleet to 8,500 vehicles, and wants to do it with docked and docked vehicles that will begin next month, redistributing the help of the electric units to avoid the breakage problems that led to the city. streets

The core of the dispute is whether the Lyft contract covers both shared docked bicycles and those that have no base. In any case, this disagreement seems destined to be resolved in a court, since San Francisco does not seem to be anxious to resolve the matter in private.

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