Ask Ed Reiskin

What’s next at SFMTA? Tomorrow is your chance to call into KQED Forum and ask Ed Reiskin some of those questions you have been wanting to ask regarding the state of the SFMTA and his roll in making it what it is today. Ed is scheduled to be on KQED Forum Friday, March 8 at 10 AM and you may call in with questions at: 866 733-6786  or email the Forum program: forum@kqed.org

 

 

 

 

The Lexus Lanes — and why they won’t work

By Zelda Bronstein : 48hills – excerpt

Night-Bridge

Bay Bridge photo by zrants

Instead of rewarding carpools and getting people out of private cars, we are rewarding wealth and encouraging more people to drive. How does this make sense?

One of the hallmarks of neoliberalism is the application of market solutions to market-generated problems. It’s an approach that’s bound to fail, because market-generated problems can only be solved by non-market solutions; but to the neoliberal mind, no-market solutions are anathema. Unfortunately, this approach is guiding city and regional planning in the Bay Area.

A case in point is the October 5 hearing on “Job and Office Trends” at the SF Planning Commission. As Tim Redmond reported, the planners focused on the severe imbalance between jobs and housing in the city, and how that imbalance is making it impossible for many people who work in San Francisco—especially those of modest means—to live near their jobs. What the planners missed was the source of that problem: their own unending pursuit of new commercial space, especially new office space. In Redmond’s words:

“The entire presentation by the department staff worships at the altar of growth. When you look at the slides, it’s as if we are competing with the rest of the nation for who can grow faster, and have the most “healthy” economy, which means the fastest growing.”

It also means the economy with the highest prices. Never mind that the tech influx is the major source of the astronomical housing prices and the accompanying displacement of economically vulnerable San Franciscans. During public comment, longtime affordable housing advocate John Elberling noted that he hadn’t heard “the word gentrification” or anything.

“about the human consequences of accommodating growth, which is clearly the current mission of the San Francisco Planning Department, even when the growth, the commercial growth, is clearly more than we can accommodate.”

The same “marketizing” growth mania is driving another misguided planning scheme: the installation of HOT (High Occupancy Toll) or express lanes on Bay Area highways. On October 9, new HOT lanes went into operation on I-680 between Walnut Creek and Dublin. Former HOV (High Occupancy Vehicle) lanes, twelve miles southbound and eleven northbound, have been converted into express lanes that will operate between 5 am and 8 pm. (In the Bay Area, the term “rush hour” long ago became an anachronism.)…

Until I attended the briefing, I thought that express lanes were intended to decrease congestion. Not so. Their purpose, said Caltrans Deputy District Director Sean Nozzari, is to “help us manage traffic congestion better” by opening “available capacity to solo drivers.”…(more)

Management by Confusion: Once again we are being charged top dollar for confusion on our streets and highways. These programs are NOT user friendly and they contradict their stated purpose and goals.

The “experimental” traffic and parking management programs are so confusing the SFMTA Board and Board of Supervisors has trouble understanding them. If the “experts with detailed printed charts, maps, graphs, surveys, reports and personal Q and A after presentations can’t understand the program, how will the public figure it out?

It is hard enough keeping track of your online bank accounts and nesting email messages. Now drivers are expected to deal with driving along curving streets while watching out for children, pets, and stupid humans texting as they cross the street and cyclists who ride everywhere but in the “protected” bike lanes they demanded be installed for their safety on city streets.

On highways we are supposed to purchase yet another payment tool if we are to avoid paying huge fees for doing something we didn’t know to avoid in the first place. How is this legal, ethical, or good for society?

 

Google acquires tech company behind BART Perks Program, quietly ends partnership

By : sfexaminer – excerpt

A pilot program meant to ease crowding on BART may face a stumbling block from an unlikely source: Google.

The search-engine giant recently acquired a core technology company, Urban Engines, that provided the backbone of the BART Perks Program — but well before the end of the program pilot Tuesday, Google quietly prepared Urban Engines to end its partnership with BART, according to public records obtained by the San Francisco Examiner.

In the communications obtained by a public records request, transit officials said the perks program successfully eased some crowding on BART trains during crushing commutes…

“Google has decided not to continue with commuter incentives programs,” wrote Dave Parker, a deployment engineer at Urban Engines, to BART Principal Planner Ryan Greene-Roesel and Jia Tong, staff at a Singapore-based transportation program, in November 2016… (more)

Golden Gate Bridge, Ferry and Transit Fares Increase

Most tolls on the Golden Gate Bridge will increase 25 cents on Friday.

Fares on Golden Gate Transit buses and Golden Gate Ferry service also will increase 4 percent Friday, Golden Gate Bridge, Highway and Transportation District spokeswoman Priya Clemens said.

The FasTrak toll on the bridge will increase to $6.50 for two-axle vehicles, $7.50 for Pay-by-Plate and to $4.50 for carpool vehicles.

The one-way adult fare for the Larkspur Ferry will increase 50 cents to $11 and to $11.75 one-way on the Sausalito Ferry.

One-way Clipper fares on the ferries will increase 25 cents to $7.25 on the Larkspur and $6.25 on the Sausalito ferries.

The one-way fare for youth 5-18, seniors 65 and up and for disabled riders will increase 25 cents to $5.50 on the Larkspur Ferry and to $5.75 on the Sausalito Ferry. Children ages 4 and under ride free, but there is a two-child limit per fare-paying adult.

The toll increase will help balance a projected five-year deficit of $33 million, Clemens said…. (more)

All these increased fares and fees along with the Bay Bridge work that is creating massive traffic jams this summer may not help the Bay Area transit authorities’ plans to request more taxes and approval of more debt from the votes in November. That along with a reduction in services and removal of seats on the the new vehicles may push the voters over the edge. No one wants to be treated like a caged animal and we are starting to get to that level with these new standing room only vehicles. Who do they paln to serve? Not the elderly or physically challenged or families or shoppers and travelers with baggage. This leads us to belive that the real goal is to push more peopel toward the private sector options, as indicated in this article that describes the “smart city” approach to privatize and robotize transportation, being designed and tested in Columbus, Ohio by Alphabet: Alphabets sidewalk labs working to revolutionize public parking and transportation in american cities

 

7 On Your Side gets MTC to change rules for stolen Clipper cards

By abcnews – excerpt

Thanks to a Seven On Your Side report, Bay Area transit riders no longer have to pay when a thief uses their Clipper card.

Seven On Your Side got transit officials to change the rules so you are no longer responsible for charges made on your stolen card. But customers have no way of knowing that except by hearing this story… (more)

Muni fare hikes, service increases touted in 2017 budget

By sfexaminer – excerpt

SFMTA staff also proposed charging more for use of “express” lines, like the 38BX or 30X, which ferry workers downtown with fewer bus stops. Charging $1 more for express lines could garner $5 million annually for the agency…

This is the best so far. This one really makes me laugh. After forcing “faster” express lines on Muni riders by cutting out bus stops, in opposition to many, and spending a fortune to do it, SFMTA is now floating the idea of CHARGING YOU FOR USING THE SERVICE THEY FORCED ON YOU.! Say it isn’t so. Please don’t let them get away with this!

The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency is now floating ideas for its $1 billion budget.

The agency must decide the fate of Muni lines, street engineering, bike lanes and more for 2017–18, all hinging on the budget priorities from the SFMTA Board of Directors.

On Tuesday afternoon, the board heard the first presentation from SFMTA staff on the budget. Proposals ranged from boosting bus and train service, to increasing fares and fees.

“We have very modest shortfalls on a billion-dollar budget,” SFMTA Director of Transportation Ed Reiskin said to the board.

Reiskin cited rising pension costs and a higher-than-usual contribution to Caltrain’s budget as reasons for an anticipated $13.6 million budget shortfall in 2017.

Much was on the table to correct that shortfall…

No action was taken on the budget, and the SFMTA is seeking public comment on its proposals. The board is expected to vote on budget priorities in April…(more)

Arriving soon: Higher Muni fares

By Jerold Chinn : sfbay – excerpt

Muni fares may soon be on the rise under a preliminary budget from San Francisco’s transportation agency.

The Municipal Transportation Agency’s Board of Directors continued budget talks at their Tuesday board meeting, which included increasing Muni fares for everyone as well as higher parking and permit fees over the next two years.

Under the transit agency’s automatic fare indexing, an adult single-ride cash fare would rise from $2.25 to $2.50 and discount cash fares for youth, seniors and disabled riders would increase from $1 to $1.25.

Monthly adult Muni Fast Passes with BART access would jump from $83 to $86 in 2017, and increase again to $89 in 2018. An adult Muni-only Fast Pass would cost $75 by 2018.

The potential fare increases loom as the transit agency faces a $13.5 million shortfall in 2017, and $14.3 million shortfall in 2018…

The SFMTA is considering charging an extra 25 cents to riders who choose to pay cash instead of Clipper. It would generate close to $4 million in revenue each year.

A 2014 SFMTA survey showed that 25 percent of riders making $15,000 or less paid their fares with cash. SFMTA Board Director Cheryl Brinkman had concerns over the data presented:…(more)

Hope everyone appreciates the efforts SFMTA is making to cut your service, pour more concrete and enhance your streets with paint, because they plan to charge you more for the privilege of using Muni to pay for all that “beautification” and “faster service” they re promising.

We think charging for paying with cash instead of the card is really going a bit far, but, it is up to the Muni riders to dispute that one.

Dave Cortese Elected Chair of Metropolitan Transportation Commission

MTC : prnewswire – excerpt

OAKLAND, Calif., Feb. 25, 2015 /PRNewswire/ — Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors President Dave Cortese took over the reins of the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) today after the 18 voting members of the 21-member regional Commission unanimously elected him as chair for the two-year term running through February 2017.

The Commission is charged with planning, financing and coordinating transportation for the nine counties comprising the San Francisco Bay Area, a mission that also extends to integrating transportation facilities and services with development while promoting sustainability. MTC oversees several travel resources in the Bay Area, including the free 511 traveler information system (on the phone at 511 and on the Web at 511.org), the Clipper® transit fare card and the FasTrak® electronic toll collection system.

Cortese brings to his assignment two years as MTC’s vice chair, and eight years overall as an MTC commissioner. He was first appointed to MTC in 2007 as the Association of Bay Area Governments’ (ABAG) representative, later transitioning to Santa Clara County’s seat on the Commission. In February 2015 he started his third four-year term as an MTC commissioner… (more)

Golden Gate Transit to 5 year olds: pay up

By Mark Prado : marinij – excerpt

Bay Area system forcing the change

Five-year-olds who previously have boarded Golden Gate Transit buses for free may have to cough up a youth fare beginning next year.

It’s not that Golden Gate Transit is targeting the children for added revenue, rather it’s a result of a larger Bay Area transportation bureaucracy that determines who pays fares and at what age, officials say.

Traditionally Golden Gate Transit has those 6 through 18 pay a half-price youth fare on buses. Those who are 5 and under ride for free when with an adult. Fares are based on length of travel.

But with the introduction of the Clipper transit card in the Bay Area in recent years, there has been a push by the Metropolitan Transportation Commission — the Bay Area transportation planning agency — to standardize who is considered a youth… (more)

Someone needs to check their facts on this one. All youth do not pay to ride the Muni in SF. Vote on the poll at the source.

The SFMTA May Soon Test a Smartphone Ticketing App for Muni Riders

resetsanfrancisco – excerpt

The San Francisco Municipal Transport Agency recently announced its plans to run a six-month trial for using a smartphone ticketing app for Muni riders to pay their fares.

Easier for Riders

… Although riders already have the option of buying a Clipper Card, the app would, in theory, best aid riders who don’t want to bother with the card, or don’t want to fumble for their wallet every time they get on a crowded train during rush hour. The app however, is not intended to replace Clipper, though will be a better alternative to light rail fare cards for some.

SFGate reported that the app will “allow passengers to pay single-ride, cable car and special event fares, and buy visitor passports using their smart phones,” however the app will not include Fast Passes on phones… (more)

How many ways can you say “Privileged?”

Smart phone apps are fine for the riders who can afford them and the banks and Apple who will share in the transaction fees that will be added to each ticket charged on the smart phones. How will a smart phone app help the less affluent Muni riders?