Chinese bike share company Bluegogo caused quite a stir when it threatened — er, offered — to drop thousands of its dockless, app-unlocked cycles on San Francisco streets earlier this year. It soon scaled back its ambitions at the behest of local regulators who feared abandoned bikes littering streets: Bluegogo bikes, unlike those of the Bay Area Bikes Share/FordGoBike system and similar traditional bike share programs, are located by GPS and unlocked via phone from wherever they're dropped.
The company eventually agreed to a reduced, soft rollout, but today will be pulling its bikes entirely after complaints of cycles strewn about streets. According to Hoodline, Bluegogo rented out 11 parking spaces from private businesses to use as stations during a soft launch. Customers were asked to return bikes to the stations, but apparently didn't comply. No stations are in the Castro, for instance where many of the bikes turned up, Hoodline writes.
A company spokesperson, Lindsay Stevens, told Hoodline that “Within two hours of learning that bikes were left in the Castro, we removed them... As of tomorrow, all of our bikes will be removed."
But a look at Bluegogo's app this morning reveals dozens of bikes still in San Francisco available to users. The Examiner clarifies that Bluegogo plans to remove the bikes by the end of today, Friday.
Stevens tells the Ex that Buegogo isn't packing up permanently: “We’re still here,” she told the paper, and the company is “prioritizing fulfilling all requests” the city has made for permits.
Prompted by the Bluegogo kerfuffle, the Board of Supervisors crafted new laws to regulate stationless bikesharing this month, including a permit and administrative fees system. A spokesperson for Supervisor Peskin, who railed against Bluegogo's heedlessness, told Hoodline that his office "continue[s] to receive almost daily complaints and photo documentation from constituents frustrated that their public realm is being turned into a private marketplace.” By April, the new law will be legally enforced by SF Public Works, his spokesperson confirms.