These Poor Women Have NO IDEA Their FORD GOBIKE Joyride to Sausalito Will Cost Them MORE THAN $100

Ford GoBike: The Bay Area’s bike share program, named for Henry Ford.

Motivate International, formerly Alta Bicycle Share, famous for labor issues.

Anti-competitive agreement with SFGov.


Clumsy efforts in the Mission District, suspicion over Ford Motor Company’s FordPass

This is so sad. Here’s what tourists see when they’re thinking about renting a FORD-branded rental bike in Frisco:


So, one trip is $3 and you can rent a bike for all day for just $10. Of course there’s more in there, stuff about how you have to check your bike back in within 30 minutes or you get hit with late fees, but the tourists don’t see that part.

How do I know this?

  1. Well, check Yelp. That litany is for the service what ended last month, the not-much-used and taxpayer-funded Bay Area Bike Share, but the successor service, the taxpayer and Ford Marketing-funded Ford GoBike joint, gets the same complaints. See below.
  2. Also I’ve asked people when I’ve seen them in / going to Sausalito. A man in one group said that they were paying $10 per 24 hours and a woman in this pair, as seen on the Golden Gate Bridge, said they were getting their rentals for “$9 for the whole day.”

IMG_7392 copy

But the real price for pedaling through Frisco,* over the bridge to Sausalito in Marin County and back again is $16 for the first hour and then $12 an hour after that. So if your trip takes five hours, which is totally possible, then you’re paying $64 per bike. Times two is $128. Minus the $20 they already knew about leaves us with $108 MORE THAN EXPECTED.

Of course less time = less money and more time, as you can read about on Yelp = more money.

Hey, are the people at Ford Motor Company, Motivate International, and/or SFMTA/SFGov aware of this issue?


Now, do they give a care?

NOPE, apparently not.

Oh well. So if your goal is to market Ford Motor Company to youth and to get “more butts in bikes,” then having newcomers pedal two-wheeled advertising vehicles where other ads aren’t allowed (like on the GGB) is great. You’d want ALL of Frisco’s tourists to make the same mistake.

Now, isn’t it ironic, don’tcha think, that our SFMTA insists (in one line item on a grocery list longer than your arm) that any competitors to FORD MOTOR COMPANY GOBIKE properly make clear to users how much they have to pay, but the existing government-approved, government-funded (IDK, monopoly? or) entity isn’t doing that at all currently, and hasn’t done for the past few years as well?


  1. Hey, why not change GoBike’s misleading language to something that tourists, you know, some of whom don’t have the best handle on English, can understand, like NON-misleading language?
  2. Hey, why not have a text message sent to users telling them that their time is up when their time is up and then say, OK, it’s $12 per hour starting now?

And I’ll tell you, I don’t like the phrase THREE DAY PASS that FoMoCo uses for its $20 option either, and here’s why. If Sarge gave Gomer Pyle…


… a three-day pass to go off-base, would he have to come back to base every half-hour? I think not, Gentle Reader. I think not.

Anyway, that’s what I ponder when I see all those GB’s on the GGB.

Ah, the Yelp:

“I like the Bikes but the renting cost of the Bikes are very  expensive. There are 3 options to rent the bikes: Short-term pass 3 dollars for 30 minutes, the day pass $9.95, and 3 day pass $19.95. I picked 2 Bikes for the day pass for $9.95 each. I thought that was good price for a day and only rode 2 hours and 15 minutes and returned the Bikes. However, they charge me $73 that is super expensive. The tricky part is the Bikes only allowed for 30 minutes if u want to bike more than 30 minutes, you will pay $3 for extra 15 minutes. That is why I end up paying more than $70 2 Bikes for two hours.”

“FRAUD ALERT! I was so excited when I heard about this service that I went right to their website to sign up. However, what they state in bold print about costs and ride time on their website is not what you agree to in the fine print of your membership agreement. Coupled with the fact that a company that is engaging in shady (i.e. illegal) activities from the gate, now has your credit card number, a link to your specific clipper card, and an app on your phone all before you ever even get on a bike is, in my opinion–A BIG RED FLAG. READ THOSE ENDLESS PAGES SCROLLING DOWN YOUR SCREEN BEFORE YOU CHECK THE “AGREE”  BOX.”

“I’m never using this service again. The digital display on the payment machine said the one day pass was $9, but I paid $49 for a bike for three and a half hours. I could buy a bike with $49. It’s ridiculously expensive. Charging the extra fee over $9 seems to be a scam.They should change the marketing from one day pass to 30 MINUTES PASS!! $9 for the pass is right up to 30 minutes, but from the moment over 30 minutes, you have to pay the extra fee $7 per 30 minutes. Keep in mind. I wish other people would never go through the same situation as me. This service is the worst one I’ve ever gotten in SF.”

Yours, in struggle.

*That’s a long way already on these hefty bikes as the stations closest to the Golden Gate Bridge are FAR AWAY, currently.

[UPDATE: Oh, it used to be that Motivate International would offer people who misunderstood the pricing structure a 50% refund, but now I see that 100% seems to be the new standard.


This is sort of funny since this has been a Known Issue for years (plural). END UPDATE]

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6 Responses to “These Poor Women Have NO IDEA Their FORD GOBIKE Joyride to Sausalito Will Cost Them MORE THAN $100”

  1. jk says:

    also worth noting that getting the butts in bikes may be more about getting butts into (chariot) buses:

    tl;dr: the bikes have always-on location sharing, which turns into data about where chariot routes might make sense. so the end game is actually about getting people OFF bikes and into private buses.

    “The opportunity is not bikes. That’s not why Ford’s in it. The opportunity is data, and the data is super valuable because it tells us these invisible paths that people are taking in this complex city in terms of how they want to get around.” –Jim Hackett, CEO of Ford Smart Mobility LLC

  2. sfcitizen says:

    Yeah I hear you. It seems like Ford has a lot of things planned. We’ll just have to wait and see how it goes the next 7 years…

  3. Chimera Bill says:

    I sounds so complicated! Why bother to figure it all out only to ride on congested roads to a congested bridge and after a bout with the fog and wearing bermuda shorts and only a t-short, congestion of the nasal sinusistesem.
    I know (or IDK) tourists don;t know what they’re getting inot–UNTIL the alternative guidebooks start chastising Henry Fording the stream of consciousness: whataripoffHUH?whataripoffHUH?whataripoffHUH?….

  4. sfcitizen says:

    I was thinking that maybe people know how much it’s costing them, but they think it’s worth it anyway.

    IRL, the people I checked with on/near the bridge were all confused about the pricing.

    I think it’s a valid experience though, and prolly a lot better thing to do than what they’d be doing otherwise

  5. oakland says:

    This blog is great.

    Ford Motor should do a better job of communicating there pricing

  6. sfcitizen says:


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