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Court dismisses lawsuit over Chicago share-bike contract

Published January 24, 2020

CHICAGO (BRAIN) — Social Bicycles' lawsuit against the city's transportation department for renegotiating a share-bike contract with its rival and giving it exclusive rights to operate was dismissed Wednesday in U.S. District Court.

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Social Bicycles — now known as JUMP and owned by Uber — can refile an amended lawsuit by Feb. 6.

The department of transportation asked for the dismissal in September, saying the city did not have to engage in a competitive bidding process required by the Illinois Municipal Purchasing Act. The city said MPA's bidding requirements don't apply to these types of contracts.

Judge Joan H. Lefkow said JUMP didn't enter into into the bidding in 2011 because it wasn't even in the the public bike-share market "until years later." Therefore, it could not prove the city had to follow competitive bidding practices.

The $75,000 lawsuit was filed in August and came after the city agreed to a $65 million contract in 2013 with Alta Bicycle Share Inc., which later was acquired by Motivate. According to the suit, the city renegotiated the contract in March 2019 without engaging in competitive bidding or requesting a proposal from JUMP, as required by state and local public contracting laws.

In 2007, Chicago began planning to bring bike-sharing to the city and started searching for private-company proposals to run the program but abandoned the plan because of cost.

The idea was rekindled in 2011 when the city received a $18 million grant from the Federal Highway Administration that led to the eventual deal with Alta Bicycle to exclusively operate in Chicago.

Lyft acquired Motivate in 2018 and re-approached the city seeking to expand the bike-sharing arrangement.

Topics associated with this article: Bikeshare

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