SFO Celebrates First Legal Peer-To-Peer Car Sharing Service

by Chris Cooney : – excerpt

A San Francisco-based company has become the first ride-sharing business to begin operating legally at San Francisco International Airport, an airport spokesman said.
RelayRides, which allows Bay Area travelers to park for free at hotels near SFO while their cars are rented out to visitors during their trips, is the first peer-to-peer car sharing company to be granted permission to operate at the Bay Area’s busiest airport, SFO spokesman Doug Yakel said.
During negotiations with the airport, the company’s executives showed a “unique” willingness to comply with state and local rules governing airport ground transportation that Yakel said other ride-sharing companies—such as Lyft, UberX and FlightCar—have so far lacked.
“What really differentiates RelayRides from other transportation network companies is their willingness to work within the existing business structure at SFO,” Yakel said.
The company has also agreed to pay SFO 10 percent of the profits it earns from business generated at the airport, Yakel said… (more)

I wouldn’t call it a “car share” since the owners are renting their cars, but, there is a legal framework for anyone who wants to rent their car out instead of paying to park it.

Limo driver’s suit against parking officer upheld

By Bob Egelko : sfgate.com – excerpt

A federal appeals court has refused to dismiss a suit by a San Francisco limousine driver who said a city parking control officer followed him out the door of a fast-food restaurant after a shouting match, then pepper-sprayed and punched him… (more)

Many interesting points to this story, but what concerns us is finding out who authorized the parking officers to carry pepper spray and how does the public feel about that? Do they carry other weapons we should be aware of?

Some Abooooard!: Muni’s Runaway Train Proves It Has a Problem Keeping Asses in Seats

By Joe Eskenazi : sfweekly – excerpt

San Franciscans can be a fairly entitled bunch. But we are, at the very least, entitled to ride on a vehicle that also carries a driver. So, the Muni light-rail passengers who earlier this month noticed their driver standing on the platform while their train took off from Castro Station — they’re entitled to complain.
The rest of us are entitled to confusion at Muni transit director John Haley‘s subsequent statement that “the system worked the way it was designed.” Muni trains weren’t designed to require quick-thinking passengers emerging from horrified crowds to stop the vehicle. And they weren’t designed to be operated without drivers… (more)

I’m not the only one who finds Rose’s comments curious.

54-Felton Muni bus unreliable, parents say

Justin Berton : sfexaminer – excerpt

For some parents at E.R. Taylor and other schools, relying on the city’s transit system to get their children to school can provide a rough start to the day.

In 2011, due to dwindling enrollment and an aging vehicle fleet, the San Francisco Unified School District began phasing out its yellow school buses and had sidelined half of them by the 2013-14 school year.
Muni stepped in to assist the new class of riders and offered free youth passes to low-income students.
But there are holes in the system. Parents complain on blogs and websites that J-Church trains and buses on the 39-Coit and 22-Fillmore lines are frequently too packed to stop, leaving children behind.
Frustrated parents at E.R. Taylor Elementary took a more direct stand recently. They circulated a petition and complained to Muni officials that the 54-Felton, which serves three schools in the southern part of the city, was often late, overwhelmed or missing-in-action… (more)

Judge stops bullet train in its tracks

By Juliet Williams : Associated Press – excerpt

A Sacramento judge on Monday tore up California’s funding plans for its bullet train project in separate orders that could force the state to spend months or years redrawing its plans for the $68 billion rail line.
Judge Michael Kenny rejected a request from the California High-Speed Rail Authority to sell $8 billion of the $10 billion in bonds approved by voters in 2008, saying there was no evidence it was “necessary and desirable” to start selling the bonds when a committee of state officials met last March.
He said the committee was supposed to act as “the ultimate ‘keeper of the checkbook'” for taxpayers, but instead relied on a request from the high-speed rail authority to start selling bonds as sufficient evidence to proceed.
In a separate lawsuit, Kenny ordered the rail authority to redo its $68 billion funding plan before continuing construction, a process that could take months or years. He had previously ruled that the authority abused its discretion by approving a funding plan that did not comply with the requirements of the law. The judge said the state failed to identify “sources of funds that were more than merely theoretically possible.”… (more)

Audit Finds Problems In Muni Hiring, Training

Phil Matier : sbclocal – excerpt

SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) – A recent audit by the San Francisco City Controller has come down hard on the hiring practices of Muni and the training program of its drivers.
According to auditors, Muni had no accurate count of how many drivers the agency needs, leading to not enough drivers being hired.
The audit found that the lack of hiring drivers is not related to money, as the agency has the positions budgeted. Rather, Muni has not been able to come up with a staffing analysis to show the true number of drivers it needs. That driver shortage led to thousands of missed runs last year (more)

Thank you Phil, for filling us in on the details. Many of us know how glutenous and obtuse the SFMTA has become, but you can’t repeat the details and facts too often, for those who haven’t figured it out yet. The nerve of these folks who want more money when they don’t spend what they have wisely. Garbage in, as they say.
SFMTA IS TOO BIG AND OUT OF CONTROL. This sounds like a familiar song. This Muni problem is NOT RELATED TO MONEY.  SFMTA has the money to hire and train, they just can’t figure out how to do the one job they have money for. Could it be that they are farming the job out to incompetent contractors, and SFMTA is too busy hiring and training overpaid managers, lobbyists (to convince state representatives to change state laws that punish car owners), and PR firms (to convince the voters to pony up $3 billion in 2014)? Five management positions paying over $!00K were listed last week.
TIME TO TRIM THE SAILS. CUT OUR LOSES. CHANGE THE PLAN. Everyone should send letters to the Supervisors and MTA Board letting them know how you feel about the bang up job the SFMTA is doing and how likely you are/are not to vote to give them more money.

Billions needed to fix transit in S.F.

By Michael Cabanatuan and John Coté : sfgate – excerpt

San Francisco’s transportation system – famous for its slow Muni buses, pothole-pocked streets and inadequate bike and pedestrian amenities – needs a lot of help: $10.1 billion worth, a task force appointed by the mayor has concluded.
And, the panel adds, city leaders should ask voters to approve nearly $3 billion in taxes, bonds and fees to help pay the bill…
After months of study and discussion, the group concluded that the city has $10.1 billion in transportation infrastructure needs through 2030 and that the bulk of those needs are in maintaining and improving the core of the existing system, which has been neglected for decades. That means replacing and expanding the city’s bus and streetcar fleet, systematically and regularly repairing streets, and dealing with Muni’s overcrowding, unreliability and slowness, which riders have complained about for years…

$3.8 billion short: The task force will recommend that the Board of Supervisors put before the voters three ballot measures that would each raise roughly $1 billion…

  • Two $500 million general obligation bonds – one in November 2014 and another in November 2024.
  • A measure to raise the vehicle license fee from 0.65 percent to 2 percent – in November 2014. State law allows San Francisco voters to restore the fee, which was cut by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.
  • A proposition that would increase the sales tax by half a cent – in November 2016. That would raise the city sales tax from 8.75 percent to 9.25 percent.

(more)

Continue reading

Eyes on the Street: Bike Lane Replaces Car Parking at Fort Mason

by : sf.streetsblog – excerpt

This bike lane appeared on the northern end of Van Ness Avenue at the east end of the Fort Mason Tunnel.

A new contra-flow bike lane separated by paint and plastic posts has appeared at the northern end of Van Ness Avenue, providing a safer link between the ped/bike paths that run through Fort Mason and Fisherman’s Wharf… (more)

Time to start boycotting these areas if you drive a car. If you live there you better start looking for some new representation. If enough businesses scream loud enough, they do reverse these things.

Wrongful Citations given by SFMTA

consumerwatchdog – excerpt

Oakland resident files complaint with Consumer Watchdog.com, a site accepts consumer complaints. She vows to get restitution for her wrongful citations. She is not alone in her anger. Many people file complaints against the SFMTA for wrongful citations. Yelp is full of them. http://www.yelp.com/biz/sfmta-customer-service-san-francisco-2

Log your unjustified parking tickets at link below so we can track patterns of unjustified tickets by specific parking officers or locations.  Enter badge number of issuing officer so that over time we can identify overzealous DPT/ MTA officers and report them.
http://www.dptwatch.com/  

4 Hours of Free Holiday Parking | Embarcadero Center

During the holidays, park for free at Embarcadero Center, when you shop, dine and skate at the outdoor Holiday Ice Rink.
Embarcadero Center is offering free parking for up to four hours during the holiday season.

2013 Free Holiday Parking | Embarcadero Center

Valid Dates: Friday, November 22, 2013 through Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Valid Times:

  • Monday through Friday | 5-11:59 pm  (after 4 pm on Friday, November 22, 2013 for the Winter Fireworks Show
  • Saturday and Sunday | 10 am to 11:59 pm

Enjoy free parking for up to four hours. Sticker must be affixed to parking ticket to be valid… (more)