Bluegogo, the app-based Chinese bike share company whose reported plan to drop thousands of bikes around San Francisco willy-nilly had local lawmakers tut-tutting, is opting instead to proceed with caution. Specifically, that means a soft launch this week after coordinating with the SFMTA.
In contrast to the bikes of Bay Area Bike Share, which are being rebranded and expanded as Ford GoBike after a corporate sponsorship, Bluegogo bikes don't have specific docks. They're GPS-tracked and unlocked by phone.
“Like other bike sharing companies, we’re providing the convenience of cycling without the hassle and worry of bike ownership," Ilya Movshovich, the company's VP of Operations, said in a press release with details of his SF office's operations. "We stand apart by offering a supply of great bikes with no membership fee with no pre-determined pick-up or destination. We can quickly adapt our supply to meet consumer demand while reducing traffic on the streets."
Curbed was on hand today to see Bluegogo's bikes at a preview for press, where, Movshovich revealed that the company's new plan is a "limited scope launch" by the end of the week.
Motivate, the bike-share company behind the Bay Area Bike Share program, disagrees. What's more, Motivate has partnered with the city for exclusive rights to use the public right of way for the purposes of bike sharing. A press representative for Motivate sent along the fearful image below of a scene imagined by the likes of Bluegogo-opposing Supervisor Aaron Peskin. That's bikes scattered at will, clogging streets and sidewalks in China — the blue ones being Bluegogo bikes and the other colors belonging to other similar bike-share companies.
Last, for those who assumed our local bike thieves would welcome the bounty of Bluegogo bikes, Curbed clarifies that each bike "has an alarm in case anyone attempts to carry it away without unlocking it, and the screws holding them together are of an odd hexagonal shape to stymie theft of parts." Shhh! Don't tell chop shop folks how they work!