Critics of the new Ford GoBike bicycle-sharing kiosks grabbed at an opportunity to voice their concerns at Tuesday evening's San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency Board of Directors meeting.
Ford, if you'll recall, took over Bay Area Bike Share and now sponsors a bunch of bright kiosks in hues of blue plopped around San Francisco, Oakland, Berkeley, San Jose and Emeryville. The whole bike-share operation is run by a company named Motivate, and new groups of bikes have been getting installed in street-parking spaces all over town in recent weeks. Unsurprisingly, the kiosks have attracted the attention of vandals.
The San Francisco Examiner reports that some other opponents of the Ford GoBike kiosks have taken a more formal approach and raised their concerns to the SFMTA Board during a meeting (when GoBike kiosks were not even on the agenda.)
One of the main complaints from locals is that neither Ford nor Motivate did a great job of letting anyone know where or when they'd be installing the kiosks.
"We're not entirely against bike-share programs. I do resent a complete lack of outreach. I didn't get a letter or phone call," said Kevin Cline at the meeting. Cline (not Kline) owns Rock Bar and The Front Porch in the La Lengua neighborhood.
Cline echoed an earlier concern shared with Mission Local by Edwin Mascaro of 17th Street Upholstery in the Castro. "The neighbors got pretty upset, because they didn't notify anyone. It happened all on the weekend, the next day it was installed. We've been here 30 years. We've never had these kinds of issues," said Mascaro.
"I think this is unacceptable. I'm glad you folks told us about this. This isn't just going away," said Malcolm Heinicke amidst promises to address the issue at the next meeting.
As for the folks at Motivate, they're super motivated to make this work! A statement from Emily Stapleton, general manager of the Ford GoBike program, read:
"Our local team of over 100 people works around the clock to make sure that Ford GoBike is working well for our thousands of daily riders. Every time a station is vandalized or in need of maintenance, our team is out there within hours to repair bikes and clean stations."
Indeed, as Chronicle columnist Otis R. Taylor writes, "Slitting tires and disfiguring bikes won’t accomplish anything. For starters, Ford GoBikes are replaced almost as fast as NASCAR pit crews change tires."
Ford is super pumped too, with CEO Mark Fields telling the Chron last year, "We're taking a look at the whole ecosystem of moving people around. Cities are growing. They're becoming more congested. Cities are looking for solutions, and we want to be part of the solution."