Lyft-owned bike-share company debuts new Bay Area branding
New Bay Wheels bikes. Photo: Lyft/Motivate
Starting today, the Bay Area bike-share system formerly known as Ford GoBikes will a debut a new brand: Bay Wheels.
- Its parent company, Motivate, is also rolling out new e-bikes, first in San Jose, that will only be accessible via Lyft's mobile app for now.
Why it matters: Lyft acquired Motivate last year and within months decided to part ways with longtime Bay Area sponsor Ford, as Axios first reported. These sponsorships have been lucrative for the company.
Details: Motivate's new electric bikes in the Bay Area (the company pulled a previous model off the streets in April because of brake problems) can be parked in street docks or left anywhere, making them so-called "dockless bikes."
- This is important as the firm's owner, Lyft, filed a lawsuit on Friday against the city of San Francisco over its plans to allow new dockless bike-sharing companies to operate.
- Lyft's argument is that Motivate was granted exclusive rights to operate a bike-share service in the Bay Area in exchange for its upfront investments into associated infrastructure, like bike docks.
- However, San Francisco officials told Lyft in a recent letter prior to the lawsuit that Motivate only has exclusive rights regarding bike docking stations — not bike-sharing as a service. (The city's grant of an 18-month pilot to dockless bike-sharing company JUMP might have sent Motivate a message .)