Lawsuit could mandate local control for Lyft, UberX, and SideCar

By Tim Redmond : 48hillsonline – excerpt

A taxi association has filed a pair of legal appeals that could directly undermine the state’s decision to allow companies like Uber, Lyft, and Sidecar to pick up passengers in San Francisco.

The case has received very little press attention, but it could upend a key part of the “sharing economy” in the city and force companies that are trying to act as unregulated cabs to curtail their operations – at least for now — or subject themselves to local regulation.

In San Francisco, that could mean seeking taxi permits, adopting stricter driver-screening and training rules, accepting rate regulation, and allowing passengers to complain to the Taxi Commission about service problems.

Among other things, the two legal filings argue that the California Public Utilities Commission had no right to legalize the ride-share companies without a full review under the California Environmental Quality Act.

The claims also suggest that the state agency undermined the ability of local government to regulate the cab industry… (more)

A big a question that has not been answered or discussed much is when is “how does one differentiate between a rental and a share?” This applies to more than taxi and ride shares. How are SFMTA car and bike shares not rentals when there is an exchange of funds between two parties and the charge of use of the vehicle is based on how long it is used? How are they not competing against traditional car rental companies?

San Francisco Bike Laws

SFMTA – excerpt


Yield to People Walking
  • Whether they’re in a crosswalk or not, ALWAYS yield to people walking.
Stop BEHIND the Crosswalk
  • Always stop behind the line at traffic signals and stop signs.
Stay on the Street
  • It’s illegal to ride a bike on the sidewalk unless you’re younger than 13 years of age.
Ride in the Direction of Traffic
  • If you can’t go with the flow, it’s okay to WALK your bike on the sidewalk!
Obey Traffic Signs & Traffic Lights
  • Just like other vehicles on the road, obey all street signs and signals.
Be Seen
  • Rear reflectors and a front light are REQUIRED when riding in the dark! Red tail lights are strongly recommended.
Avoid Distraction
  • No headphones, calling or texting while riding – it’s the law!

Please note these are the rules posted by SFMTA.

Faulty Clipper Card System Angers Muni Riders Subject To Fines

By Phil Matier : CBSlocal – excerpt

SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS)— The technological advances to make San Francisco’s Muni a more efficient public-transportation system are actually working against riders, several of whom are getting fined because of faulty card readers not registering their fare purchases.

To make it more explicit, this is all about the scanner not reading Clipper cards. You’ve seen it before; Muni riders get on the bus, flash their card and it’s supposed to make that beeping sound, but often times it doesn’t register. According to transit officials 2 percent of the card readers aren’t operating correctly daily.

Muni’s fare system is based on the honor system, but once in a while at some of the transit system’s stops, San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) inspectors are on hand to double check that riders are properly registered or have paid their bus fare. If your Clipper card didn’t make the beeping sound it’s supposed to, riders are subject to a $103 fine.

Riders are beginning to grow more vocal about their displeasure with the situation since it isn’t their fault that the Clipper card scanner system doesn’t always work properly.

So it’s like bus roulette if you’re using Clipper card on Muni. Assuming the 2 percent figure is correct; that’s like one out of every 50 buses that has a screwed-up card reader you’re dealing with. Not to mention at the end of your ride you might get a hefty fine.

With the BART system, which also uses Clipper, it either lets you in or it doesn’t and then you can plead your case with the station agent working in the booth.

Muni is more concerned with getting its riders on and off in order to be time efficient. Muni had estimated that they were losing $20 million a year in lost revenue from fare evasion.

If you do get a citation for fare evasion you have an opportunity to go to the SFMTA to contest it, but that of course takes time and you might have to take time off from work. It really makes me question how many millions were spent on getting the over-budgeted Clipper card system up and running in the first place… (more)

This is old news, but, interesting that the riders are getting more vocal about it. On a slightly different notes, we understand the new ticketing process for motorists also leaves a few things to be desired. Here’s Why You Should Fight Your Muni Fare Evasion Ticket.

Ticket Complaint story of the week.

A friend got a ticket for not having a seat-belt fastened.  There is no information on the ticket indicating the amount of the fine, only a phone number to call.  When he called the number a voice told him you are number 28 in the wait line, then put on some jazz music. Every now and then a voice would tell him where he was in the line. After about 20 minutes it got down to number 7 or and then the line went dead. This happened twice. After that, he gave up.

Anyone else have any of these problems? Motorists ticket complaints can be filed here: