Skip to Content
Streetsblog California home
Streetsblog California home
Log In

Note: GJEL Accident Attorneys regularly sponsors coverage on Streetsblog San Francisco and Streetsblog California. Unless noted in the story, GJEL Accident Attorneys is not consulted for the content or editorial direction of the sponsored content.

S.F. District 5 Supervisor Dean Preston is asking the city to research turning the Bay Wheels bike-share system, currently run for profit by Lyft, into a city-owned and potentially city-operated service, like Muni. "We need to meet the rise in demand for green transportation in our city--and part of that is through a municipal bike-share program to complement public transit and advancing public ownership of vital city services,” said Preston. "I’ve asked our Budget and Legislative Analyst to report on what it would take for San Francisco to implement a successful municipal bike share program and make it a reality."

A city-run bike-share program would allow "...oversight and control to serve transit, environmental, and equity goals, not prioritized by large for-profit companies that currently own the network of bikes and bike stations across the city," continued his office in a statement.

Currently, dock-based bike-share in San Francisco (and elsewhere in the Bay Area) is exclusively run by Lyft/Bay Wheels and regulated by regional authorities.

“San Franciscans shouldn't be forced to rely on ride-share companies for an essential mobility service--especially from a company who just spent millions to crush workers’ rights statewide” said Jason Henderson, Chair of the Land Use and Transportation Committee of the Hayes Valley Neighborhood Association. Henderson is referencing last November's passage of California's Prop. 22, sponsored primarily by Lyft and Uber, which removed obligations to provide benefits to its drivers. Prop. 22 was decried by labor advocates as an assault on worker protections in the midst of a pandemic.

"We know a publicly owned model is successful in other cities," said the San Francisco's Bicycle Coalition's Janice Li. "Both the District of Columbia and Boston have publicly owned and privately operated models (both operated by Motivate)... The purpose of this Budget and Legislative Analyst report is to explore those models further and to learn more."

In the announcement, Preston's office also points out that advocates have criticized bike-share price hikes from March 2020.

An official in Preston's office stressed that asking for the study is just a first step. Depending on the results, a proposal could develop to fold bike-share into SFMTA. Streetsblog hopes whatever scenario it leads to will mean better integration, such as including bike-share in the price of Muni transit passes.

It's perhaps too early to determine how other Bay Area cities that host Lyft's bike-share system will respond. "I’m not aware of any efforts or plans along those lines," wrote Sean Maher, a spokesperson for Oakland's Department of Transportation. Streetsblog emailed an official at MTC to find out if any cities aside from San Francisco are thinking along similar lines.

Regardless, "...we welcome this move by Supervisor Preston towards a municipal bike-share system so that we can get an affordable, equitable system that works for all San Franciscans," said Li.

Stay in touch

Sign up for our free newsletter

More from Streetsblog California

Strategizing About Reduced Funding in the Active Transportation Program

Funding for Cycle 7 of the Active Transportation Program is less than $200 million, and already there have been requests for fifteen times the amount of available funding

July 18, 2024

This Heat Wave Is a Car Dependency Problem

Our quickly warming planet has a unique impact on people who don't or can't drive — and we need policy action to protect their health.

July 18, 2024

We Need to Stop Killing People On Our Roads; A New ‘Bikes Belong’ Campaign Could Help

A ground-breaking campaign in the 90s helped deliver the federal money America needed to fund active transportation infrastructure. Is it time to re-launch it?

July 18, 2024

Eyes on the Street: Hollywood Boulevard Bike Lanes are Open

The Hollywood bike lanes project, already very much in use, is also already being criticized by commenters at Nextdoor and other social media

July 18, 2024

Eyes on the Street: Vincent Bikeway is Coming Together

The new waterway bike/walk path - with on-street connections - is expected to open later this year

July 18, 2024
See all posts