Uber ridership has cratered and no one knows when it’ll come back

By Faiz Siddiqui : washingtonpost – excerpt

Frequent riders said it was like Uber ‘didn’t exist’ anymore. Longtime observers fear riders won’t come back after lockdowns ease up.

SAN FRANCISCO — Mary Miltiades, 25, didn’t take an Uber ride for 3½ months after the pandemic began.

But Georgia has largely reopened, and since June 27, the Atlanta resident has taken three or four trips — one of which involved a saran-wrap divider installed by the driver between the back and front seats.

“At first, it was almost like Uber didn’t exist anymore,” she said. “Since then, I’m just desensitized. I’ll wear my mask, I’ll roll the windows down, I won’t touch anything, I’ll be good.”… (more)

Transportation Officials Seek Comments On Hov Lane Policies

By Bay City News Service : sfgate – excerpt

The Metropolitan Transportation Commission is asking Bay Area residents to learn about, and comment on, regional express lane toll policies during a public comment period that runs through Sept. 9.

This comment period, which began Sunday, will culminate in a “virtual” public hearing as part of MTC’s Sept. 23 public meeting schedule.

Commuters and other travelers can learn about MTC’s express lane and toll policies on the MTC website at expresslanes… (more)

This concerns everyone who drives in the Bay Area.I f they do it in one are they may expand it to others.

Advocates call for permanent moratorium on ‘poverty tows’

By Carly Graf : sfexaminer – excerpt

Ron Trathen hates change. He recalls moving around a lot as a kid, and now he prefers to put down roots. That’s why he’s spent the last four years on Bayshore Boulevard.

Today, home is the motorhome where he lives with his partner, Linda, and three dogs. But Trathen says he’s had 11 vehicles towed in the last six years on San Francisco’s streets. It makes creating a place to call his own a difficult task…

In a June 19 letter to SFMTA, a coalition of 27 city organizations asked the agency to make the moratorium permanent and the payment system more accessible.

Advocates say these SFMTA policies disproportionately target the extremely low-income and unhoused… (more)

SFMTA board rejects proposed ballot measure to fund Caltrain

By Carly Graf : sfexaminer – excerpt

The saga over the fate of Caltrain continued Friday with a surprising decision from the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Authority Board of Directors.

A proposed ballot measure from the Board of Supervisors to create a one-eighth cent sales tax meant to fund the financially struggling agency failed to secure the votes needed to clear the SFMTA board.

The board voted 3-1 in favor of the proposal, but approval required unanimous support.

Without the support of the SFMTA board, the measure cannot appear on the November ballot in San Francisco…

Director Cheryl Brinkman, the sole dissenting vote, said she’d gone back-and-forth on the issue before arriving at her decision…(more)

San Francisco passes sales tax measure to save Caltrain. San Mateo says it’s dead on arrival

By Rachel Swan : sfhchronicle – excerpt

The three counties that fund Caltrain have reached an impasse that may shut down the Peninsula rail line, which is limping through the COVID-19 pandemic while carrying 5% of the passengers it had last year.

On Tuesday, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors unanimously approved putting a ⅛-cent sales tax measure on the November ballot, with controversial conditions that would tie up most of the money until the counties resolve a conflict about governance.

Officials in San Mateo County have vowed to reject the measure in its current form, saying the conditions are illegal and could paralyze the 51-mile commuter railroad…(more)

They are fighting over the money before they get it. Let’s do them a favor and vote agains the tax that no one needs or wants. Why are they so intent on running empty trains? Open the closed parking lots in San Francisco and run more buses.

Government needs to cut the fat. Billions of dollars will be needed to take care of shelter and food and medical care. Anything else is gravy. Cut salaries and furlough government workers who are not doing “essential” jobs.

Stop the tax increases to stop inflation! Taxes are the driving force behind inflation in this depressed economy. The increased diesel tax that kicked in this year has already pushed the cost of food higher and delivery services higher. Renewing bag fees will do more damage. The government has to stop taxing and live within its means the way the rest of us are.

New York City to Lose Almost $600 Million in Parking Revenue

By Alexandre Tanzi : bloomberg – excerpt

(Bloomberg) — New York City is estimated to lose more than $590 million in parking revenue this year due to the pandemic, according to a study of 65 cities. New York’s parking fees are the highest in the world, according to the report by Fixter, a car-maintenance firm based in the United Kingdom. Parking revenue in Chicago is estimated to fall by $180 million this year. Philadelphia, San Francisco and Boston round out the top five U.S. cities with potential losses due to the Covid-19 pandemic… (more)

Don’t Bit the Hand that Feeds You. Cities that want to remove cars from the streets should make up their minds. Do you want them to pay for public transit or not? You can’t have it both ways. Don’t bemoan the loss of parking revenue after years of removing parking. Either make your peace with drivers and allow them to SHARE in the use and funding of the balanced transit systems, or prepare to live without their money. Drivers were the first to leave the gentrified cities and they are the most prepared to leave now that many have no reasons to stay.

Pandemic hit the brakes on SF’s car break-in crisis. See how crime numbers have changed

By Kelie Hwang : sfcrhonicle – excerpt

If you live in San Francisco, you don’t need to own a car to know that soaring vehicle break-ins have plagued the city for nearly a decade.

The burglaries got so bad a few years ago that The Chronicle conducted an investigation. Among the findings: Car break-ins hit a historic high of 31,122 in 2017, with arrests made in less than 2% of the cases.

But shelter-in-place orders in mid-March caused big changes in the city’s crime patterns. Car break-ins have taken an especially deep dive during the coronavirus pandemic, according to The Chronicle’s S.F. Car Break-in Tracker, which highlights data provided by the San Francisco Police Department…(more)

I wonder how car owners feel about this news. Are they just not bothering to report them any more or did the rate of breaking go down? Could the criminals be sheltering in place instead of running around stealing things? What will happen when the Fed pulls back on financial support?

Muni arrival time system set to get $89 million upgrade

By Carly Graf : sfexaminer – excerpt

S.F. supes to consider funding six-year contract for modernized service

A Muni rider shows up at a bus stop. The digital sign says in its faded black-and-gold typeface that the vehicle will arrive in three minutes. But the bus never comes, and the MuniMobile app won’t refresh.

This story — or one like it — is all-too-familiar for Muni regulars. Unreliable arrival information complicates trip planning, and faulty updates make navigating service changes cumbersome, especially for anyone with limited mobility…

Per the City Charter, the Board of Supervisors must approve any contract that could exceed 10 years or include expenditures expected to exceed $10 million.…(more)

Seriously? Muni wants to spend 89 million dollars to upgrade a high tech system that accurately tells you how long your wait will be for the Next Bus when they have cut the number of buses due to a huge deficit and falling ridership. Why? Isn’t it time to cut the non-essential non-operational expenses so they can pay for the essentials?

1 person dies in connection to recent skateboarding event near Dolores Park

kron4 – excerpt (includes video)

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (KRON) – At least one person has died in a recent skateboarding event near San Francisco’s Dolores Park.

Director of SFMTA Jeffrey Tumlin confirmed there was at least one death and a ‘cluster of severe injuries’ in this years Dolores Hill Bomb…

Tumlin posted to Twitter a picture of raised speed dots being added to the street to slow skaters down…

Tumlin said, ” I consulted with six skateboarders and skate leaders before making this call. Yes, skilled skaters can ollie over the dots. But skilled skaters accept their own risk while protecting others from risk. They control their board and respect the right of way of people in front.”…(more)

Unbelievable hubris. What are the priorities of this department? How is the SFMTA protecting the public by making sure that the “skilled skaters” are able to continue their reckless behavior on a city street? How many unskilled skaters will be hurt in these games and why was a cyclist among the skaters during their run?

The cyclist who hit the skateboarder died and his passing has been lamented by the media. By all accounts he was a daredevil reckless biker, No word on the fate of the skateboarder he collided with, the name or extent of the injuries.

Driving your car is the official recommendation–so much for transit

By Tim Hunt : danvillesanramon – excerpt

There was a 15-minute backup at the Bay Bridge—on a July Friday within a week of July 4th. In other words, high vacation season. What it demonstrated was that workers were taking guidance from the Centers for Disease Control seriously. If you have to travel, the CDC recommends the best way is in your own vehicle.

That recommendation is unlikely to change as more people start to go back to their offices although many have found it productive and convenient to work from home. Until a vaccine is developed and tested, many people are not going to be comfortable in crowds—whether that’s on a BART train, a bus or riding the elevator in a San Francisco high rise.

And then consider what implications this has for transit-oriented housing. If there’s an effective vaccine and people are widely vaccinated, then higher densities close to transit could again be desirable for people. As a Wall Street Journal weekend article observed this weekend the sweet spot for families now is leasing suburban single-family homes in good school districts. The story detailed firms buying, renovating and leasing single-family homes and the robust market they are tapping…

Whether this is the “new normal” or what will be “normal” as we live with the virus remains an open question… (more).