The Mission’s 24th Street corridor, a Latino cultural enclave and special use district, is not keen on bike sharing. It recently blocked Ford GoBike roll-out and before that was the electronic bike-share company JUMP.
The Calle 24 group opposes the bike-share companies arguing that they fuel gentrification by catering to newcomers. Moreover, they argue, 24th Street has no bike lanes.
“Our community rides bikes out of necessity,” said Erick Arguello, president of the Calle 24 Latino Cultural Corridor group. “It’s a very different culture.”
“JUMP came out of nowhere,” said Arguello said, dumping 10 to 15 bikes along 24th Street” without proper permitting.
His group, which oversees the Calle 24 special use district, notified the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency to file a complaint.
“We had merchants call us – the [JUMP bikes] were placed in existing bike racks. Some cyclists weren’t able to put their bikes in,” he said.
The Ford Motor Company-backed GoBike company allows would-be cyclists to rent regular bikes through a smartphone application or Clipper Card. Day passes cost $10 each. Those who qualify for low income programs pay $5 for the first year for a 60 minute ride.
JUMP is an electric, station-less bike share program that charges roughly 7 cents per minute for its use. On its website, JUMP states that its “bikes are part of a UC Berkeley research grant focused on understanding how people will use electric bicycles compared to other types of transportation.”
While Ford GoBike omitted 24th Street from its massive, city-wide expansion plan that placed some 31 bike dock-stations in the Mission alone, JUMP learned the hard way – Calle 24’s pushback forced the company to pull its electric bikes off the street.
An earlier and similar incident in which Chinese-based bike-share company Bluegogo also dropped dozens of dock-less bikes around San Francisco without proper permitting prompted the question of exactly what type of permitting is required for bike-share rentals in the city.
In March, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors passed new regulations that require the companies to obtain a permit and subject them to administrative fees.
“We are requiring JUMP to apply for the station-less bike share permit,” said Paul Rose, a spokesperson for the transportation agency. The permit, he said, stemmed from amendments to the transportation code passed by the transportation agency’s board.
“The requirements in the code are intended to ensure that any implementation of this type will be safe, equitable and generally promote the public interest,” he said.
Last month, JUMP had planned to roll-out 100 bicycles throughout the city, and placed some on along 24th Street, which the company has since removed.
Between 20 and 50 of the company’s bikes remain available in a private network and are “available to Bayview and Mission residents that are affiliated with community groups, nonprofits, or local businesses,” said Ryan Rzepecki, CEO of Social Bikes, which administers the JUMP program.
The company filed a permit application on July 10 and is awaiting a response from the city, said Rzepecki.
Despite the neighborhood group’s hostility, the bike share entrepreneur said that he has not abandoned plans to provide electric “smart bikes” to the denizens of the Calle 24 corridor.
“Ideally, we would like to cover that part of the city but we want to be sensitive to the community’s concerns,” said Rzepecki. “We will continue that conversation when we have more support.”