The Privatization of Transit

KQED – excerpt – (video)

Private companies are changing the way many of us are getting to work. For years, Google, Facebook and other firms have run shuttle buses that take their employees to and from their campuses. Now startups are getting into the transit business. KQED’s Thuy Vu and Scott Shafer look at the benefits and drawbacks of private transit services.

Guests:
• Supervisor Scott Wiener, San Francisco Board of Supervisors
• Clarrissa Cabansagan, community planner at TransForm
• Ali Vahabzadeh, founder and CEO of Chariot.. (more)

Question for the Supervisors: How much longer will you be content to campaign for more money for a system that we all know is broken. If money were the answer to fixing Muni, why does throwing more money at it never seem to work? The more you throw the worse it gets.

MonkeyParking Is Back and Ready to Disrupt Your Driveway

By Joe Eskenazi : modernluxury – excerpt

Once-reviled parking app to give legality a shot.

Last summer, an app called MonkeyParking became a target of much Internet ire after attempting to introduce its service—which allowed users to auction off public, city-owned parking spots to the highest bidder—in parking-deficient San Francisco. The business model, the company claimed, was defensible as a First Amendment matter. This argument did not sway the vast, seething swarms on social media, nor did it assuage City Attorney Dennis Herrera, who quashed MonkeyParking with great vengeance and furious anger. “We knew we were touching a nerve,” MonkeyParking CEO Paolo Dobrowolny admits now. But he says he didn’t expect San Franciscans and the City Attorney “to be so angry.”

Well, now he knows. And now the monkey is back…

Well, here’s some advice on taxes that other sharing-economy companies have (eventually) heeded: Pay them… (more)

On Guard: Is Leap Muni’s Uber moment?

By sfexaminer – excerpt

Reclaimed wood tables. Leather seats. Iced tea and Wi-Fi. Stepping onto a Leap bus is like visiting the trendy, obnoxious coffee shop that displaced your favorite Mission hangout three years ago, only now it’s on wheels — don’t drop your coffee, techbro!

This is Leap, the upstart private bus running from Lombard Street in the Marina to the Financial District. It’s a tech-laden bus for a techie crowd, and as I board it, my mind turns to the political fallout of Leap and its sister buses may create.

The so-called Google buses, Leap and Chariot (another private bus provider) are all part of a movement in which techies separate themselves from our public-transportation services — like Muni — and create private alternatives. But haven’t we seen this before?

If you could swim in bitcoin, Uber CEO Travis Kalanick would backstroke through his billions like Scrooge McDuck. Uber and Lyft disrupted the taxi industry, and now taxi companies are teetering near collapse.

So will Muni get disrupted out of existence by private buses?… (more)

The Solution to San Francisco’s Parking Problem isn’t What You Expect

by Noah Sanders : thebolditalic – excerpt

Let’s be frank: parking in San Francisco is a nightmare. We’re a dense city — more than 800,000 people on a seven by seven spit of land — with a surprisingly low number of on-street public parking spaces (265,000 as reported in 2010), and the quest to find an open slot for your vehicle can be one of the great frustrations of living in the City by the Bay. Parking isn’t a simple issue (nothing is in San Francisco), but according to the Examinercity supervisors Mark Farrell and Malia Cohen think a large part of our current parking crisis is due to ubiquitous construction parking permits. You’ve seen them: plasticky, red-and-white signs decreeing a rare stretch of available parking is reserved for the dualies and cement mixers of some massive construction project. Anyone who ignores the signs is asking for punishment. Now, supervisors Farrell and Cohen believe they have a solution: the Construction Parking Plan Law….

Potrero Hill Boosters president J.R. Eppler doesn’t see the Construction Parking Plan Law as an adequate solution to what he believes is a much bigger problem. Eppler says that parking problems caused by construction projects are just “a straw on the back of an already burdened camel.”…At the end of the day, “it’s not just a construction issue, “ Eppler says, it’s a complex parking issue that needs to be addressed with an equally comprehensive plan….

San Francisco is in the grip of some seriously complex growing pains, and though legislation like the Construction Parking Plan Law looks to address pieces of those problems, City Hall needs to start expanding its scope and hitting the full force of these issues head-on…. (more)

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