Lyft raises prices on e-bikes, triggering an online revolt

By Rachel Swan : sfchronicle – excerpt

Lyft will raise the prices of its popular street rental e-bikes next month, using a complex system that’s baffled users and prompted a revolt on social media.

Beginning March 2, customers of Bay Wheels, the bike rental company operated by Lyft, will have to pay 15 cents a minute to ride the black-and-magenta two-wheelers — a sharp jump for people who used to get unlimited rides with their $15 monthly or $149 annual membership fee. Those without a membership will still pay $2 to unlock an e-bike, but under the new pricing scheme, they will also pay 20 cents a minute to ride…

“This is a money-losing business that they’re involved in,” said Randy Rentschler, legislative director of the Metropolitan Transportation Commission, which signed a contract with Lyft to build a regional bike network at no cost to taxpayers. Lyft provides that service through its classic pedal bikes, and the company has spent millions installing docks at curbs and outside transit hubs…(more)

A city lawsuit didn’t stop Lyft, but their inability to sustain heavy losses and placate investors may have run its course. The investors may do wha the courts could not, and start to pull the plug. Investors may demand a profit now.

The question we must ask is, how much of the loss may effect the “investment” SFMTA and the City and County of SF has invested in the program? What is the current public/private relationship between Ford/GoBikeLyft/Bay Wheel’s, or whoever they are banding themselves as now, and the City and County of SF and the SFMTA, or and other Departments and Agencies?

Who signed the present agreement? Which of San Francisco’s many departments is responsible for keeping track of the city’s portion of the net profits/losses of the program as specified in the agreement? If you understand this question, and would like some backup history, you will find much of it by doing a search of this blog or you may want to do a request for documents.

Last we checked there are still taxpaying, rent paying traditional retail bike shops in SF that you may buy or rent a bike from. You don’t have to rely of a “bikeshare” company to ride a bike. We counted four of them on Valencia. If you would accept the “old-fashioned” method of obtaining a bike you should have no trouble getting around on an e-bike. You might find that keeping some of the bike shops alive instead of plaguing them with competitors is as large a benefit to you as it is to the shopkeepers and their customers. After decades in business the retail bike shop owners know what they need to stay afloat.

Lyft shocks with e-bike price hike, and Uber bikes leave town

By Adam Brinklow :curbed – excerpt

It’s a vicious cycle

xIf you’re in the habit of riding the pedal-assisted e-bikes that have become ubiquitous across San Francisco in recent years—but not all of San Francisco, more on that in a minute—your commute will become more complicated soon, particularly if you happen to bike in some of SF’s outlying neighborhoods.

Starting in March, Lyft, which operates the black-and-pink Bay Wheels rentals throughout the city, will raise prices due to operational costs and introduce some slightly dizzying new schemes to things.

Via a Medium post, the company explained that it will start charging more because “e-bikes need charged batteries and can be parked at stations or public bike racks, they cost more to operate.”… (more)

So stop protecting and enhancing this program now by installing parking stations for a failing business.

What’s white, male and 5 feet wide? Bay Area’s bike lanes

By Phil Matier : sfchronicle – excerpt

When it comes to exclusivity, one would be hard-pressed to beat San Francisco’s bike lanes, where most regular riders are male, affluent, white “bike bros,” with 1 in 4 making $250,000 or more a year, according to the most recent U.S. census data.

And it’s not just in San Francisco.

“Bicycle commuting is mostly the province of wealthier white men all across the Bay Area,” Metropolitan Transportation Commission spokesman John Goodwin said.

Just look at the numbers…

Across the Bay Area, white riders represented 61% of the bike commuters, followed by Hispanics at 17%, Asians at 15% and African Americans at 2.4%.

In San Francisco, the white percentage was even higher — 65% of regular riders — followed by Asians and Hispanics at 14% each and African Americans at just over 1% of regular San Francisco bike commuters. How do those numbers compare to the city’s population as a whole? Whites: 40%; Asian: 34%; Hispanic: 15%; African American: 5%.… (more)

‘I canceled my membership’ — customer backlash after Lyft hikes Bay Area bikeshare prices

By Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez : sfexaminer – excerpt

Lyft announced a price hike and changes to its Bay Wheels bikeshare program last week that sent its customers reeling.

On March 2 Bay Area e-bike riders will begin paying per-minute fees, and the company will charge an extra $2 when riders don’t leave their bikes at a sidewalk dock.

For members, the e-bike payments used to essentially be a flat fee — but now they will have to watch the clock when they ride…(more)

A Valencia Street bike shop owner has launched an unlikely crusade. His enemy: a protected bike lane

By Rachel Swan : sfchronicle – excerpt

The owner of a 35-year-old bike shop on San Francisco’s busy Valencia Street is driving a neighborhood crusade against an unlikely enemy: the city’s plans for a protected bikeway outside his store.

Valencia Cyclery owner Paul Olszewski wants to torpedo the barricaded lane idea, which he says would take 14 parking spaces out of the 29 on his block, along with a center turn lane that doubles as a loading zone. He spent hours last week hoofing up and down the 2-mile artery, knocking on every merchant’s door from Market Street, on the north end, to the southern boundary at Cesar Chavez Street

The consensus, he maintained, was clear.

“I canvassed over 100 merchants, and 99.9% of them are objecting” to the protected bike lane, Olszewski said Monday morning as he worked in his shop, a storefront packed into the bottom floor of a baby-blue Victorian in a crowded strip of restaurants and apartment buildings. Nearby, the owner of a stationery store was printing flyers for an open house-style meeting Monday night at City College, where critics mingled awkwardly with bike advocates…(more)

Too much too soon. Tech is slowing down. We need to protect and preserve the non-tech businesses that sustained during the last economic downturn.

Valencia QUICK-BUILD Bike Lane Project Concerns / Small Businesses United/ Pro Bike

Residents want to pause the quick-build to take community needs into account.

Concerns:

• Accessibility: The key to a vibrant small business corridor and the workers, clients, customers, and visitors who come there daily. The removal of the center lane and many of the parking spaces will make doing business difficult for the merchants on Valencia, as well as hinder access for tenants, workers, deliver vehicles, emergency vehicles. We also need to make sure clients/customers have access to our businesses.

• Mobility: Not all our citizens are mobility privileged. While we support bicycle safety, we are also concerned for our clients, customers, and neighbors who have limited mobility. We are interested in fair access for all who use the corridor.

• Transparency: Planning needs to include residents, small businesses, building owners, and emergency services, and these plans need to be available for public review and comment. Trying to push through a Quick Build with a week’s notice does not allow the community to weigh in on the needs of all.

• Safety: While we agree safety should be considered for bike riders, it must also include safe access neighborhood members who are unable to cycle. By pushing the parking into the lanes of traffic, drivers/passengers now have to exit into a lane of traffic. This particularly affects our mobility-limited community members; as well as families, pregnant women, and our aging community members. In addition, we must consider how emergency vehicles use Valencia Street and their continued access to respond to emergencies. Moving the parking spaces away from the curb will impair visibility for vehicles existing from business driveways and could very likely lead to people getting hit by bicycles while exiting their vehicles to get to the sidewalk.

• Aesthetics: Valencia Street (south of the experimental zone) currently offers room for all and spreads the vehicles out over the street. Moving vehicles to the middle of the street will create a steel “tube” running straight down the middle without anything to break up this view. We small business community not only want to maintain our clients’ access, but we also want Valencia to continue to be a vibrant destination, not turn into a monolithic conduit of vehicles (both bikes and cars) passing through on the way to somewhere else.

Residents want to know, “What is a quick-build project and why is it coming up now?” It there a pile of money burning a hole in the budget with a spending deadline? Which budget item does this project come under?

Monster mashed: Developer pulls plug on contentious 1979 Mission project, puts land up for sale

By and : missionlocal – excerpt

Community groups make play for coveted 16th and Mission site

Maximus Real Estate Partners, the developer that for nearly seven years has endeavored to build a 331-unit project 16th and Mission derided by opponents as “the Monster in the Mission,” has put the property up for sale. And now a group of community organizations say they’re bidding to purchase it.

“The Plaza 16 stands victorious in its fight against the Monster in the Mission,” said Chirag Bhakta of the Plaza 16 Coalition, a consortium of activists and community organizations who have long opposed Maximus’ project.

On Monday, he was joined with other members of the coalition at Mission Housing Development Corp.’s office to make the announcement.“The victory sends a clear message that projects of this magnitude that don’t meet community needs are not acceptable and will meet opposition,” added Roberto Alfaro of the coalition… (more)

This looks like the place to put another navigation center or service center for people who were previously taken care of across the street. Why wait to use the empty space that already has utility services and could be used on at least a temporary basis by the community that is serving the displaced people in the Mission. There are a few milling about there all the time. Maye open up a pubic shower and laundry facility. Lots of ways to use the space on a temporary basis that would the neighbors and the the neighborhood.

Millbrae Transit Center to eliminate hundreds of parking spots

By Anser Hassan : abc7news – excerpt

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) — A big electronic sign is posted at the entrance to the Millbrae BART station paved parking lot, warning passengers that starting Friday at 9 p.m., the parking lot will be permanently closed.

It is roughly 300 spots or about 10 percent of the available parking at the station.

It is being done to make way for the Millbrae Transit Center, which will be built on the site. The new center will include 400 apartments, 100 of which will be for low-income tenants, as well as some stores…(more)

How much abuse will people put up with? As ridership is peaking during peak hours, and dropping on the weekends and off hours, the response of the transit authorities is to raise transit ticket and parking prices, while cutting transit service and eliminating parking options. Now they want to remove a traffic lane on the Bay Bridge and establish congestion pricing in San Francisco. Already they removed cars from Market Street and want to take them off of other streets. Who is benefitting from these policies that are killing businesses and displacing residents? If you want a change, you may want new representatives in Sacramento.

RELATED:

BART riders could pay more for parking as transit agency tries to add housing, retail to transit hubs
Lawmaker introduces legislation to kick off creation of Bay Bridge bus lane
$3.25 to ride Muni? Not so fast, SF supervisors say
SFMTA considering dramatic changes to parking

Bike Shop Owner Opposes Car-Free Valencia

By Roger Rudick : streetsblog – excerpt

Safe-streets advocates were taken aback by a letter that appeared in the San Francisco Chronicle trying to put the brakes on calls to ban private cars from Valencia. What made this stand out was who it came from–Paul Olszewski, owner of Valencia Cyclery.

From his letter:

Most of our new bike customers drive here and return home with their new bike in their car. This is especially true for children’s bikes. Likewise, a lot of bicycles in need of repair are not rideable, and are driven here to be fixed. Parking on the street has gotten prohibitively expensive and harder to find. Many parking spaces are taken by the banks of share-rental bikes and parklets. It seems that our bike lane will soon become a “protected bike lane,” which inevitably results in even more spaces lost. If the city is truly interested in keeping small businesses, especially legacy businesses, alive and well, then there needs to be a balanced use of our public streets.

He also wrote that “Doing business in San Francisco has gotten to be increasingly difficult for a number of reasons, including the lack of parking. If cars were banned completely on Valencia Street, we would probably have to close.”…(more)

Lyft to charge San Francisco e-bikers more for decadent dockless parking

By Jack Morse : mashable – excerpt

San Francisco e-bike riders’ penchant for locking their Bay Wheels wherever they damn well please is about to cost them some serious dough.

A host of pricing changes are coming to the Lyft-operated platform as of March 2. Perhaps the most notable of which includes a brand new $2 locking fee for riders who choose to ignore available dock spaces in favor of using built-in cables to lock the e-bikes to racks or street signs. In other words, use a docking station or pay up.

Pretty simple, right? It will be cheaper for riders to leave e-bikes at stations as opposed to scattered about, thus helping to ensure bikes are easier to find, maintain, and charge. But wait, we’re not done yet… (more)

Make it as confusing and possible for people to use your service. Only a disruptive tech firm would think of that.