Dockless bike share company seeks meeting with SF city officials as it prepares for launch

SAN FRANCISCO (BCN)— A Chinese bike-sharing company that has met with opposition from San Francisco officials said it still plans to launch in the city within the week but is trying to work with local officials to clarify what it described as a misunderstanding about its business model.
   
Bluegogo, which offers a "dockless" bikeshare service using GPS-equipped bikes that can be unlocked with an app, intends to launch initially by parking its bikes at legally rented private spaces, according to Ilya Movshovich, the company's vice president of U.S. operations.
   
The company bills itself as an affordable, accessible service, with no monthly service charge and a flat rate of 99 cents for 30 minutes.
Users in China can pick up and park the bikes anywhere, but Movshovich has said that the company's U.S. operation would enforce a requirement that bikes be parked at legal locations such as public bicycle racks.
   
Supervisor Aaron Peskin and officials with the San Francisco
Bicycle Coalition last week suggested the company planned to dump bicycles on city streets, obstructing city sidewalks and creating a public nuisance.
Peskin introduced legislation strengthening restrictions on the use of city of right of ways.
   
In addition, Ed Reiskin, the San Francisco Municipal
Transportation Agency's director of transportation, and Mohammed Nuru, head of the city's Department of Public Works, sent a letter to Gang Li, chief executive officer of Bluegogo International Inc., asking for information on the company's plans and warning that it will need to obtain permits and comply with all local laws.
   
The letter also warned that the city has signed a 10-year agreement with Bay Area Motivate LLC allowing the company exclusive rights to use the city right of way for bike-sharing purposes.
   
Movshovich characterized the city's response as the result of a misunderstanding, and said the company has been communicating with staff members in the SFMTA for the past month, working to understand local laws and permit requirements.
   
He is currently setting up a meeting to go over its business plans with city officials, he said.
   
"It seems like there might be some assumption by some government officials that we might be doing a China-based model, which is a good indicator that they didn't get the message," Movshovich said of his company's attempts to communicate with the city. "Any concerns the city might have, we'd like to address them in person."
   
SFMTA spokesman Paul Rose said the agency has received the company's request to meet.
   
"Once we have more details about how they would like to operate in
San Francisco, we will be able to work with other city agencies to determine what the company can and can't do," Rose said.

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