Fewer calls on city to ‘blow up’ taxi permit system

By Tim Redmond : 48hills – excerpt

Supes looking at ways to help mediallion holders facing unfair competition from Uber and Lyft

Sup. Sandra Lee Fewer yesterday called for the city to “blow up” its current taxi permit system, find a way to pay back drivers who spent up to $250,000 for a medallion just before Uber and Lyft illegally damaged the industry, and start all over again.

“It’s an outdated model,” Fewer said at a hearing today. “We are working with a framework of what we have.”…

Fewer suggested that the city buy back all the existing medallions, rent them out for a while to people who would have exclusive rights at SFO, and figure out how to completely redo the cab system in SF.… (more)

Finally a solution to clean up the the medallion mess. The city should buy them back since they devalued them.

Lyft ditches Ford GoBike branding for new name, ‘mobile art’ designs

by Katie Pyzyk : smartcitiesdiv – excerpt

Dive Brief:

  • Lyft has rebranded the San Francisco Bay Area’s bike-share program from Ford GoBike to Bay Wheels.
  • The company is also launching an e-bike that debuted in San Jose yesterday and will expand throughout the Bay Area in the coming weeks. Those bikes can be rented through the Lyft app, while traditional pedal bikes still can be accessed through the bike-share program app. The e-bikes will feature a lock so they can be parked places besides a bike-share docking station, qualifying them as dockless devices.
  • The traditional pedal bikes will now display artist designs to become what Lyft refers to as “mobile art.” The e-bikes will have black frames with wheels in the company’s signature pink color… (more)

Ousted e-scooter company Bird purchases rival Scoot, acquiring SF permit

By Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez : sfexaminer – excerpt

Bird has already been approved to continue operating Scoot in The City

Bird, one of three e-scooter rental companies ousted from San Francisco last year, has finally found a way back into The City.

The company is acquiring its rival, Scoot, one of only two e-scooter companies permitted to operate in San Francisco…

“Backdoor” permit purchases, as some insiders call it, are increasingly becoming a common practice. Ride-hail giant Lyft purchased bikeshare company Motivate in July last year, granting it a contract featuring exclusivity to operate in San Francisco. And Lyft’s rival, Uber, bought dockless e-bike company JUMP in April last year, granting it San Francisco operating permits, too.

Seeing a pattern, the SFMTA crafted its Powered Scooter Share Pilot Program with a provision exactly for this scenario. When a company purchases a permitted e-scooter company, SFMTA Director of Transportation Ed Reiskin is empowered to re-evaluate the permit.

Tuesday, he did exactly that…(more)

SF won’t find new Muni leader before current director leaves

By Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez : sfexaminer – excerpt

Ed Reiskin, the city director in charge of Muni, bike lane planning, street design and parking enforcement officers, is on his way out.

…As a quasi-independent agency, the SFMTA Board of Directors ultimately hires the new SFMTA director, who oversees San Francisco’s streets.

Muni operations are perhaps the most demanding responsibilities on the plate of the SFMTA director, which is partly behind Reiskin’s announced August departure. After a string of tough turns for the agency, including last summer’s service meltdown, a reported culture of harassment, broken train doors on Muni’s new $1.1 billion future fleet, and more, Mayor London Breed ordered the SFMTA to search for a new SFMTA director by August.

While the SFMTA directors are staring down that deadline they’ve already noted that meeting it isn’t realistic… (more)