Ride-hailing giant Lyft won its legal battle against San Francisco transportation officials last week for its bike-sharing service in the city.
On Thursday, a San Francisco judge sided with Lyft over the shared-bike dispute in the city. The Superior Court judge ruled that the bike-sharing operator which Lyft bought last year, Motivate, will have exclusive rights to operate a docked and dockless bike-sharing system around San Francisco.
According to the preliminary injunction, which Lyft initially filed in June when San Francisco first started requesting dockless bike-rental plans, it also mentioned that the ride-service company has the “first offer” on e-bikes.
While the injunction doesn’t necessarily mean that Lyft will be the sole company allowed to operate e-bikes within the city, the ruling could bring the company into significant progress.
Wedbush Securities analyst, Dan Ives, said that the ruling is an achievement to be proud of for Lyft as the company has built their fence on bike-sharing in San Francisco. He also added that there were a lot of concerns about the outcome, but gladly, Lyft came out victorious. It was the right decision for Lyft to pursue and further explore this market opportunity, according to Ives.
While Lyft doesn’t break out every metric for its scooters and bike business, analysts from Wall Street believed that it could be advantageous in the long term as the ride-service firm seeks to improve and expand its trip counts and users, especially since other cities have similar exclusive contracts.
Multinational investment bank and financial services company J.P. Morgan stated in a research note this summer that through Lyft’s shared rides by scooters and bikes, it can help drive active cyclists and motorists higher.
According to the spokesperson of Lyft, the company is working more into growing its electric bike program, which also recently hit the East Bay streets last week. The spokesperson also added that the company is pleased with the judge’s ruling and that they have been eager to deploy their new hybrid e-bikes in the city and were waiting for the approval from The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA).
The city’s deputy attorney Kenneth Walczak informed Courthouse News that San Francisco is expecting to have multiple operators that would help avoid a similar situation in April when Lyft was forced to pull all its electric bikes in San Francisco and New York due to a brake issue. Walczak added that they want to ensure that residents have access to not only one type of docked bikes offered by Lyft.