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Bike-share startup seeks permits

By LIA ZHU in San Francisco | China Daily | Updated: 2017-02-09 07:25

Bike-share startup seeks permits

Bike-sharing startup bluegogo displayed the sample bike in Beijing on Nov 23, 2016. [Photo by Ouyang Shijia/China Daily]

Chinese bike-share startup Bluegogo, which had planned to fill San Francisco's public bike racks with rental bicycles, is seeking permits after drawing backlash from city leaders.

The Beijing-based company has recently faced resistance in its first US market-San Francisco, which is home to other share-economy innovations like Uber, Lyft and Airbnb.

Different from other bike-share programs, Bluegogo's bikes are equipped with smart locks and GPS systems, which allow riders to locate and unlock the bikes using their smartphones and leave them at any public bike rack without locking. The service costs only 99 cents per half hour.

The company had planned to launch the program last month, but city leaders vowed to impound their bicycles and fine the company if they went ahead without permission.

City officials, who have referred to Bluegogoas a "rogue" company, were worried that the company would dump tens of thousands of bikes that would clutter public sidewalks. Bluegogo does not reveal how many bicycles it plans to deposit in the city.

At a press conference on Jan 18 supervisor Aaron Peskin, said: "Every single time, these arrogant tech companies ask later for forgiveness, or ask later for permission. This is the first time where San Francisco has gotten ahead of the curve."

Ilya Movshovich, Bluegogo's vice-president of US operations, told China Daily in an email: "We'd still really like to come to an agreement with the city regarding the use of public racks." "We last met with the city on Jan 25 and are still waiting to hear back on what permits might be needed. In the next week, we will be bringing out more bikes to be housed at our rented-out stations."

 

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