The Metropolitan Transportation Commission is hitting Lyft with a penalty of nearly $200,000 for failing to keep an agreed-upon number of bicycles on the streets as part of its Bay Wheels bike-share program.
The penalty is mostly the result of Lyft's decision in April to take electric-assist bikes out of service following reports of braking problems. The company made a similar move last week, when it withdrew a brand-new fleet of e-bikes after battery packs on four of the cycles caught fire.
Removing the bikes this spring meant the company was unable to deliver on its contractual obligation to provide a minimum number of bikes for riders in the five cities served by Bay Wheels, formerly called Ford GoBike: San Francisco, San Jose, Oakland, Berkeley and Emeryville.
In San Francisco, for instance, Lyft is obligated under a series of key performance indicators to continually provide about 1,800 bikes for shared use -- 90 percent of its total city fleet of 2,000 or so two-wheelers.
To guarantee flexibility for riders, Lyft is also required under its MTC contract to ensure that both bicycles and dock space remain available throughout the bike-share network from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. every day