What San Francisco taught BMW Group about car-sharing

by  Kirsten Korosec : fortune – excerpt

DriveNow CEO Rich Steinberg still sees potential in the U.S. market despite challenges—namely parking—in San Francisco.

There are 900 parking spaces for car-sharing vehicles in San Francisco. And DriveNow, a car-sharing joint venture between BMW Group and Sixt SE, can’t use any of them.

So perhaps it’s no surprise the company decided recently to suspend service effective Nov. 2 in San Francisco, the only U.S. city it was operating in.

“We came to market here because San Francisco makes a lot of sense in terms of car-sharing—in general,” DriveNow USA CEO Rich Steinberg told Fortune. “At the time, we were hoping to work with the city on a parking solution similar to what we have in existence in our European cities.”…

In San Francisco, car-sharing companies must compete with a large variety of transportation options as well as fit within the confines of the city’s parking regulations.

Every organization that participates in San Francisco’s on-street car-sharing parking program is eligible for 150 parking spaces—or about 0.05% of the city’s total on-street parking supply, according to Shaheen… (more)

One more instance of SFMTA picking “sharing” winners and losers. SFMTA creates policies that limit their competition. Is this legal?

Fixed, The App That Fixes Your Parking Tickets, Gets Blocked In San Francisco, Oakland & L.A.

by Sarah Perez : techcrunch – excerpt

Fixed, a mobile app that fights parking tickets and other traffic citations on users’ behalf, has had its parking ticket operations blocked in three of its top cities, San Francisco, Oakland and L.A. after the cities increased the measures they were taking to block Fixed from accessing their parking ticket websites.

The company confirms it has suspended parking ticket operations in all three cities as of three weeks ago – a move impacting around 100,000 users. Going forward, Fixed will focus on its Traffic Ticket business instead, we’re told.

The startup has had issues with the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) for some time.

The agency was never all that receptive to the service, and the way it automated the ticket contesting process for locals. Using its app, Fixed customers could snap a photo of their parking ticket using their phone’s camera, and then Fixed would check against a variety of common errors before writing a customized letter to the city on the user’s behalf. The app also cleverly tapped into Google Street View to check to see if the city had the proper signage in place in the area a ticket was received… (more)

See the next story for a luck at how “fair” SFMTA is in its business dealings. They are very selective when it comes to picking winners and losers in their “sharing” game.

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The cables used by ‘cable cars’ are fraying, prompting car ban on Powell

By Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez : sfexaminer – excerpt

More than 55,000 feet of taut steel cables run underneath San Francisco.

That constant stream of woven metal puts the word “cable” in cable cars. Now, those cables are fraying more often than ever before.

The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency is moving fast to fix the problem. Its solution is to ban private autos on Powell Street, where the cable cars run.

“We’re doing this because of safety,” said Ed Cobean, senior operations manager of SFMTA’s cable car division.

The plan is called the Powell Street Safety & Improvement Pilot. If passed by the SFMTA Board of Directors on Nov. 3, by Thanksgiving private autos would be banned on Powell between Ellis and Geary for a year and a half.

The linkage between traffic and frayed cables is complex… (more)