Supes approve rules for dockless bike-sharing

Bluegogo and other dockless bike sharing companies who want to deploy their bikes on San Francisco streets will now have to play by rules set by city officials.

On Tuesday, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors unanimously approved legislation on the first reading that will create a violation for bikes part of the dockless bike sharing program that are left unattended on a sidewalk, street or in left in the public right-of-way and not part of the permit program with The City’s transit agency.

Under the legislation, The City’s Public Works Department will be able to take enforcement action by disposing of the unpermitted bike that belongs to dockless bike sharing company.

Supervisor Aaron Peskin, the sponsor of the legislation, said in an email statement to SFBay:

“This is the first time that the City is putting common-sense regulations in place before allowing an industry to make up its own rules.”

A second component in regulating this fairly new form of bike sharing will come from the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency Board of Directors.

SFMTA Principal Transportation Planner Jamie Parks said during the board’s Land Use and Transportation Committee on Monday, that a proposed permit program would go before the SFMTA Board of Directors next Tuesday.

China-based Bluegogo is the first to test out the dockless bike sharing model in The City, but city officials and the public had concerns the model could allow users to potentially leave the bikes anywhere on the street.

Ilya Movshovich, vice president of operations for Bluegogo in the U.S., told SFBay that there is a clear need of regulations and order for this new type of bike sharing.

He added that his company will apply for a permit with the SFMTA as soon it becomes available.

Bluegogo currently has 200 bikes at 15 locations in The City inside parking lots. Users must download the Bluegogo app where they will be able to locate the closet station with bikes, pay the rental fee and receive a code to unlock the bike. The bike rental fee is 99 cents for every 30 minutes.

The company has already come under fire from The City’s Planning Department for violating planning laws for not applying for permits to rent out bikes from public or private spaces, reports the San Francisco Examiner. The company’s deadline was Friday to file the proper permits.

Movshovich told SFBay on Monday that the company had begun the process of filing of permits and is waiting to hear back from the Planning Department on additional materials needed for the permit.

As of Tuesday, the Examiner reported that the company had not filed for the permits and that the Planning Department plans to begin enforcement procedures. The company would have 15 days either to file for the permits or vacate the parking spaces before enforcement action is taken, which could includes fines and police action.