Breaking Down Barriers to Bike Share

Bike share first launched in San Francisco in 2013, and since then, your SF Bicycle Coalition has consistently advocated for affordable and accessible systems so that all San Franciscans can experience the fun and convenience of biking.

Last week, the SF Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) announced that they issued a new permit to Bay Wheels (formerly Ford GoBike) to expand their system and extended the existing permit for JUMP Bikes. This decision ensures that there will be more e-bikes available and more bike share options at your disposal. 

Regardless of which company or companies operate bike share in San Francisco, our demands remain consistent: Bike share in San Francisco must be affordable and accessible for everyone across our city.

Today, San Franciscans have so many options for getting around without a private vehicle. On top of biking, walking, and taking public transportation, thousands of people now use transportation network companies (TNCs) like Uber and Lyft to take an estimated 170,000 vehicle trips a day. San Francisco also has two scooter share companies and two bike share companies offering even more options for getting from point A to point B.

While having a variety of mobility options seems like a good thing on its surface, the reality is that most of these options present major barriers to entry. Many of them are far more expensive than a Muni fare. Most are only accessible to fluent English speakers, and nearly all of them require some combination of having a smartphone, a mobile app, or a preexisting account with a TNC service.

When it comes to bike share, we must break down the barriers to entry so the system can be truly successful.

As the SFMTA moves to meet its goal of 11,000 bikes citywide, we challenge any company that operates bike share in San Francisco to commit to the following:

  • Provide and actively promote a robust program for low-income users that is easy to sign up for and has cash payment and monthly payment options;
  • Perform outreach in all communities across the city and provide information in languages other than English;
  • Provide full access to bicycles without requiring users to have a smartphone, a mobile app or a pre-existing account with another service; and
  • Distribute bikes and stations in diverse communities across the city, expanding service areas to include communities that have faced historic disinvestment in transportation.

If you support our challenge, become a member today and join our advocacy efforts to ensure bike share in San Francisco is both affordable and accessible for all.

Become a member and you'll improve your commute and get discounts at shops across the city.