Emails show ‘handshake agreement’ for tech buses using SF transit stops

by : sfexaminer – excerpt

Emails from The City’s transit agency over the past three years indicate that a “handshake agreement” exists for commuter shuttles to use Muni stops without being cited.

The correspondence also shows that there was internal discussion at the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency about whether to ticket for the illegal use of the public-bus facilities, while companies and their lobbyists called for leniency and requested citation dismissals.

The inquiries include emails sent to the SFMTA by shuttle providers and the companies that use shuttles…

Bauer’s Intelligent Transportation, a large provider of corporate shuttles, sent a Jan. 24 email to Ed Reiskin, SFMTA transportation director, after $3,000 in fines were received since April 2013.

“As you probably know, Bauer’s IT was an early provider of corporate commuter shuttle transportation dating back nearly ten years. At that time, we entered into a handshake agreement with SFMTA to use Muni stops,” wrote Michael Watson, Bauer’s vice president of marketing.

In an earlier email, Watson also referenced an “agreement.”

“As I assume you know, we have had a ‘handshake’ agreement with SFMTA for many years that allowed us to use the stops under a ‘Muni First’ condition,” the email said…

Paul Rose, an SFMTA spokesman, said his agency was “not aware of any handshake agreement.”

The identified representative of Google was lobbyist Ross Guehring of the well-known local firm Barbary Coast Consulting, who wrote in an April 10, 2012, email, “I think it would go a long way if these tickets could somehow be reined in during this policy development process.”…

On Jan. 21, the agency’s board of directors approved an 18-month pilot program that will allow shuttles to use 200 Muni stops for $1 per stop per day. A determination that the program didn’t need to undergo an extensive environmental review is being appealed to the Board of Supervisors, with a vote scheduled for April 1… (more)

SF Transit Agency must cease questionable-practices/
Corporate Shuttle Road Kill

Are LA’s parking ticket fines and late fees unconstitutional?

Guests on  89.3KPCC (Socal public radio) – excerpt

A federal court will decide whether parking tickets in Los Angeles violate the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments’ prohibition of excessive fines. Two L.A. residents with similar stories are suing after being charged what they call exorbitant penalties for late payment on parking tickets.

The tickets, issued in downtown Los Angeles at $63 each, but after the two-week deadline for payment passed, the fines went up to $175. According to the attorney for the two plaintiffs, the fees amounted to 174.4 percent of the median daily wage for L.A. residents and 336 percent of the median daily wage for Latinos.

Angelenos aren’t the only ones griping about the high price of a parking ticket. Other cities have dealt with heavy fines by allowing violators to make payment plans, extend payments, or volunteer to pay off their debt.

Are parking ticket fines unconstitutional? How long should people have to pay off their tickets, and what penalties should late payment incur? How will this case fare before the court?… (more)

Guests :  Donald Norris, founder of Norris and Galanter LLP and attorney in the L.A. parking ticket case, Norris and Galanter LLP
Beth Colgan, Thomas C. Grey fellow at Stanford Law School and former Managing Attorney of the Institutions Project at Columbia Legal Services in Seattle, Washington