Lyft is suing the city of San Francisco, claiming that the city is violating its 10-year contract with Lyft that would give the company exclusive rights to operate bike-share programs. San Francisco, however, says the contract does not apply to dockless bike-share, but only station-based bike-share.
In its lawsuit, Lyft is seeking a preliminary injunction or temporary restraining order to prevent the city from issuing permits to operators for stationless bike-share rentals.
Although SF previously allowed Uber-owned JUMP to operate its stationless electric bikes, that was supposed to be a one-time exception since Motivate, which Lyft eventually bought, was not yet ready to deploy its stationless electric bikes, the lawsuit states. JUMP’s pilot expires on July 9, 2019, but now the city is seeking additional operators to deploy stationless electric bikes.
“We are eager to continue investing in the regional bikeshare system with the MTC and San Francisco,” a Lyft spokesperson said in a statement to TechCrunch. “We need San Francisco to honor its contractual commitments to this regional program — not change the rules in the middle of the game. We are eager to quickly resolve this, so that we can deliver on our plans to bring bikes to every neighborhood in San Francisco.”
Lyft says it has tried to avoid litigation but that the SFMTA has refused to participate in its dispute process.
“As we will explain to the court, the agreement between Motivate and the City was about a docked bike share system,” John Coté, communications director for SF City Attorney Dennis Herrera said in a statement to TechCrunch. “It does not give Lyft the right to a monopoly on bike sharing in San Francisco. Lyft can seek a permit for dockless bikes on equal footing with everyone else.”
You can see the full complaint below.