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JUMP files suit against city of Chicago for bike-sharing rights

CHICAGO (BRAIN) — Share-bike company Social Bicycles — now known as JUMP and owned by Uber — filed a $75,000 lawsuit against the city of Chicago on Friday, alleging it improperly granted its primary competitor exclusive rights to operate.

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According to the lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court, in 2013, the transportation department reached a $65 million contract with Alta Bicycle Share Inc., which later was acquired by Motivate.

In March 2019, the city renegotiated the contract without engaging in competitive bidding or requesting a proposal from JUMP, as required by state and local public contracting laws, the suit said.

The suit goes on to state the city “fundamentally restructured the contract governing the bike-share program without engaging a competitive bidding process, in violation of not only public contracting laws, but also basic principles of due process and fundamental fairness.”

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-share arrangement.

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