Bluegogo has been warned by several city agencies to obtain the proper permits to run its business in San Francisco. (James Chan/Special to S.F. Examiner)

SF: Bikeshare company can’t dump bikes in parking spaces without permits, threatens ‘enforcement’

Chinese company Bluegogo has hit another bump in the road to sharing bikes in San Francisco.

The San Francisco Planning Department issued a warning to Bluegogo earlier this month in a letter recently obtained by the San Francisco Examiner, and alleged the company does not have the required permits to rent bikes from parking spaces.

Such is Bluegogo’s business model in San Francisco — placing bikes in parking spaces with no structures and offering them for rent from a mobile phone app.

But if Bluegogo doesn’t comply by obtaining the proper permits, planning code calls for administrative penalties, potential criminal proceedings and enforcement by the San Francisco Police Department.

The inability to rent bikes in this fashion may cause Bluegogo to re-engineer its business model.

“We did receive the letter and are working with the Planning Department,” said Lindsay Stevens, a spokesperson for Bluegogo. “We are addressing their concerns with a new deadline.”

That deadline is March 10, and is part of an extension granted Wednesday by The City’s zoning administrator, Corey Teague, said Candace SooHoo, a Planning Department spokesperson.

“However, no other additional extensions will be allowed,” SooHoo wrote in an email.

The company utilizes 10 parking spaces, some public and some private, through which it rents its bikes to the public. As it stands, they currently are not zoned for retail sales, which Bluegogo must rectify in order to rent its bikes from those locations, the Planning Department wrote in its letter to the company.

Planning also warned Bluegogo that since the minimum number of retail locations for a company to be called a “formula retail” business is 11, and Bluegogo has 10 locations, any new expansion would bring it under formula retail law which restricts which neighborhoods companies may operate in.

Bluegogo also received cease and desist letters from the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency and Public Works in January for not seeking required permits with The City in order to operate.

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