Supervisor moves to kick private shuttles out of red transit lanes

By Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez : sfxaminer – excerpt

It’s time for private transit to get out of Muni’s way.

That’s the message from Supervisor Sandra Fewer, who on Monday announced her intention to legally bar private transit vehicles, like tech-industry commuter shuttles, from red transit-only lanes meant to speed public buses.

Fewer’s announcement that she would ask the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency to help her craft legislation limiting private access to the transit lanes came at the tail-end of a City Hall hearing where San Franciscans from all corners of The City said they were seeing red over the city policy allowing it.

“The goal should be that public transit is the main mode of the people in San Francisco,” Fewer told the public Tuesday…

However controversy arose in August when SFMTA Citizen Advisory Council member Sue Vaughan discovered the agency planned to allow private transit vehicles use of the soon-to-come Geary Rapid Project red carpet lanes. The discovery has drawn protests from activists and organizations across The City.

The South of Market Community Action Network, United to Save the Mission, Chinatown Community Development Center, Chinatown TRIP, Inner Sunset Action Community, Senior Disability Action, San Francisco Transit Riders and other advocacy groups spoke out Monday against private use of public Muni-only lanes… (more)

Very robust public comments and discussions following the presentation by SFMTA. We look forward to moving ahead to fix some of the many failures of the Red Lanes through a series of legislative improvements.

 

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Lyft becomes nation’s biggest bike share provider with latest acquisition

By : bizjournals – excerpt

MissionReds

Who should get to drive in the public transit Red Lanes?

Lyft is now the largest bike share provider in the country.

Doubling down on transportation efforts outside of cars, Lyft said Thursday it completed its acquisition of Motivate, the company behind Ford GoBikes.

As part of the announcement, Lyft said it would also invest $100 million to expand the size of its fleet of Motivate Citi Bikes in New York City to over 40,000 bikes. But as Lyft goes full speed ahead with a massive expansion in New York City, a Lyft spokeswoman did not respond to questions about plans for a similar increase in the Bay Area.

Even if Lyft did elect to increase the number of bikes in San Francisco, it would probably face community resistance…

In addition to the Ford GoBikes already in the Bay Area, Lyft also plans to launch a branded set of bikes, complete with wheels that are Lyft’s signature bright pink. Lyft declined to give a specific date, but said those bikes will be coming to select cities in 2019. Would-be riders will be able to find Lyft Bikes directly inside the Lyft app. As the company readies for an IPO in 2019, the company is striving to become a one-stop-shop for multiple forms of transportation, including bikes, scooters and cars… (more)

If this corporate takeover of our streets concerns you, please join us in our effort to let the San Francisco City authorities know how you feel, December 3, 1:30 PM at City Hall to protest and demand a copy of the documents that obligate our city to hand over public street space to this corporate entity for their private use and profits.

Details here: https://metermadness.wordpress.com/actions/red-lanes/

Ford Acquires Spin: An Electric Scooter Sharing Company

By Keith Griffin : fordauthority – excerpt

Ford Smart Mobility has acquired Spin, an electric scooter-sharing company that provides customers an alternative for first- and last-mile transportation. No financial details were released regarding the purchase.

Spin is a dockless electric scooter sharing company based in San Francisco. Ford acquires Spin while it has a reputation as a leading micro-mobility service provider, with operations in 13 cities and campuses across the US… (more)

Looks like the GoBikes, Chariots, and other street and curb hogs aren’t enough for the giant Ford Corporation that is competing with GM, Uber, Lyft and probably Alphabet, Apple and other non-traditional vehicle manufacturers to take over control of management of our city Streets. And they plan to take their time according to the following quote from the above article.

“Can Ford Motor Company make money off this new acquisition? That doesn’t appear to be an immediate goal, at least according to Alan Mulally, the retired CEO of Ford Motor Company in remarks he made before the National Auto Auction Association’s annual convention. “You see everybody working the last-mile issue right now. These bicycles are all over the place. I don’t know if we’re going to make money on that.”

Remember that MTC signed a partnership agreement with Motivate/Ford/GoBike./Lyft, that basically gives them cart blanche to take over curb space without any compensation to the public until they make a profit. When do you think the public will enjoy any financial benefits or compensation for this handover of our right to public use of our curb space to the corporate entities?

The excuse MTC and government authorities use to promote the theft of public curb space is that they are getting us out of our cars by handing public parking spaces over to the corporations. What they fail to mention is that those corporations want to control our access to our streets. The Red Lanes are the first step.

FIND OUT MORE ABOUT THE CORPORATE TAKEOVER OF OUR STREETS AT THE DECEMBER 3RD ACTION AT CITY HALL.

Monday, December 3, 1:30 PM
Room 263 or 250 SF City Hall
Supervisors Land Use and Transportation Committee

If you haven’t had a chance to submit a letter opposing allowing private buses (tour buses, casino buses, Chariots, Academy of Art University buses, and tech shuttle buses among others), a template letter with email addresses is here. The file # is 180876.

RELATED:

Copy of the Contract: BAY AREA BIKE SHARE PROGRAM AGREEMENT between METROPOLITAN TRANSPORTATION COMMISSION and BAY AREA MOTIVATE, LLC

Program_Agreement download here

Red Lane Amendments and Efforts to Stop the Corporatization of our Streets

MissionReds

After months of letters, comments and neighborhood pushback against many elements of corporate takeover of our streets and public spaces, many people who shocked by the announcement that some of the Red Lanes in the city are open to use by private enterprise vehicles, such as tech buses, private shuttles, and any vehicle that carries more than 10 riders, based on the definition of a bus.

Supervisor Fewer, among others, scheduled hearings on the use of the Red Lanes that were re-scheduled a couple of times, and reset for early December. As many people were preparing for those meetings, we got the news that recent developments at the Land Use and Transportation Committee may have made those hearings unnecessary.  November 5, 2018, Aaron Peskin aide, Lee Hepner, introduced Amendment 18-862, that was passed unanimously to the Full Board by the Land Use and Transportation Committee:

Ordinance 180862 – Ordinance amending Division I of the Transportation Code to establish a procedure for Board of Supervisors review of Municipal Transportation Agency decisions related to Bus Rapid Transit projects that do not include transit-only areas or lanes for Municipal Railway vehicles, taxis, authorized emergency vehicles, and/or Golden Gate Transit vehicles; and affirming the Planning Department’s determination under the California Environmental Quality Act.

The tape of the meeting is below, go to Item 6: http://sanfrancisco.granicus.com/player/clip/31749?view_id=10&meta_id=642988

As a matter of introduction Mr. Hepler described the areas of concern that are under the purview of the Board of Supervisors, though they are not being added to this amendment at this time.

This is a paraphrased transcript of the meeting:

Within the text of Prop A, there is a provision that allows the Board of Supervisors to enact an ordinance that gives the Board the option to review SFMTA decisions regarding various curb space decisions, bicycle lanes, traffic mitigations and measures etc…

Background information:  Supervisors Peskin and Safai co-sponsored Ordinance 180089, to enact that review provision regarding curb use. That ordinance expressly exempted certain projects from review that were determined to be public interest projects, such as bike lanes, curb modifications for street sweeping, and bus rapid transit projects.

This new ordinance is taking on elements of the Bus Rapid Transit Projects that are not clearly defined in the code and providing guidance as to the scope of the board’s review authority of these projects. This proposal expresses this board’s desire to promote Bus Rapid Transport projects that are generally designed and implemented to further public transportation reliability.

The amendment clarifies the Board of Supervisor’s policy preference. The board would not review BRT projects that are designed for public transportation use, but would take review of BRT projects designed for use by private commercial shuttles, tour busses or other modes of private transportation that might actually impede the flow of public transportation.

The proposed amendment… replaces the words, “bus rapid transit project” with “bus rapid transit project that includes transit only areas or lanes for municipal railway vehicles, taxis, authorized emergency vehicles, and/or Golden Gate Transit Vehicles.”

SFMTA appears to have collaborated on this. The amendment passed to the full Board of Supervisors as is on the agenda for the November 13 Board of Supervisors meeting. We had no notice, but, this appears to be going through rather rapidly. In this case, that may be a good thing.

Lyft drops $100k against SF tax to fund housing for homeless

By Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez : sfexaminer – excerpt

Ride-hail giant Lyft just dropped $100,000 to fight Proposition C, the ballot measure that would tax rich corporations to house 4,000 homeless San Franciscans.

Yes, you heard that right: Lyft, not Uber, is pushing back against “Our City, Our Home” in a big way, On Guard has confirmed.

It’s perhaps strange for a company whose CEO bragged to TIME Magazine in 2017 that his company is “woke,” and especially odd since the often-vilified Uber, which has weathered myriad recent scandals, confirmed to On Guard they’re not planning on donating for or against Proposition C. The Company That Travis Built is sitting this one out.

Uber and Lyft both fall into the crosshairs of Prop. C, which would impose a tax on San Francisco companies with gross receipts topping $50 million…

A recent report by the San Francisco County Transportation Authority found Uber and Lyft contributed to half of all The City’s new traffic congestion, making potential legislation to curtail ride-hails locally a distinct possibility, Ross said… (more)

Social equity groups have joined affordable housing and anti-gentrification movements into a new push toward localism as many communities are finding themselves at odds with powerful state interests. The ride hails, as TNCS are sometimes referred to, are under the protection of the California Public Utilities Commission, (CPUC).

Ford/GoBikes/Motivate/Lyft stationed bike shares, Chariot, and tech buses are overplaying their hand and unless the public is completely asleep at the wheel already, the voters should pass Proposition C to retaliate against the corporate takeover of our streets, our homes and our jobs.

Who will be allowed to drive in the Red Lanes?

Director Ed Reiskin is leaving it up to the Board of Supervisors to decide.

Don’t miss your chance to comment on the Red Lanes.
BEFORE THE HEARING THAT HAS BEEN RESCHEDULED TWICE.
STAY TUNED FOR UPDATES AND SEND YOUR LETTER.

Supervisor Sandra Fewer called for this hearing to investigate the matter of access to transit-only lanes (red lanes) after SFMTA announced in August 2018 that they have been legislating transit-only lanes to be accessible to private buses. Some articles on that:

http://www.sfexaminer.com/private-transit-access-red-bus-lanes-angers-advocates/

http://www.sfexaminer.com/private-transit-not-belong-dedicated-bus-lanes/

The SFMTA Board of Directors has NO LEGAL POWER to permit private buses to access transit-only lanes (just like it also doesn’t have the power to preempt state law and permit private commuter shuttles to operate in public bus stops). Permitting private buses to operate in transit-only lanes is bad policy on so many levels. And the department is under pressure to listen to the public now. Here is your chance to let the Supervisors know how you feel about Red Lanes:

CC: Board.of.Supervisors@sfgov.org, Sandra.Fewer@sfgov.org, Catherine.Stefani@sfgov.org, Aaron.Peskin@sfgov.org, Katy.Tang@sfgov.org, Vallie.Brown@sfgov.org, Jane.Kim@sfgov.org, Norman.Yee@sfgov.org, Rafael.Mandelman@sfgov.org, Hillary.Ronen@sfgov.org, Malia.Cohen@sfgov.org, Ahsha.Safai@sfgov.org, MTABoard@sfmta.com

 

 

Privatization Issues are on the agenda at the SFMTA CAC September 6 meeting

Thursday, Sept 6, 5:30 PMagenda
Room 7080, 1 South Van Ness SFMTA CAC Meeting

Item 7. The Commuter Shuttle Program status report
Several new Citizens’ Advisory Council members have been appointed and travel season is over. The MTA staff presentation will start soon after 5:30pm. at the conclusion of the opening formalities. Your Attendance is critical if you care about the Commuter Shuttle Program, your two minutes of public comments are appreciated. The supporters at past MTA Board meetings always show up in droves with mostly cookie cutter positive comments how convenient and the personal time savings of their commuter bus services. Disruption to the community is never mentioned. The PDF report

Item 8. The Motivate Bike Share program, discussion, and possible action. Your Attendance is critical if you care about the Commuter Shuttle Program, your two minutes of public comments are appreciated on this as well.
Two pdf handouts –
SF Expansion and Bikeshare In Your Community

If you can’t make it to the meeting and want your voices and opinions taken into account, send your letters and comments to the Board of Supervisors and the Mayor and the candidates for office who are running for the new Board positions. Use the authority in  Ordinanace 180089 to demand a hearing and an audit of the programs before any further erosion of our public access on our public streets is allowed.

IMG_3530.jpeg

Let the officials know how many empty GoBike stations you see in your neighborhood. Photo of late night GoBike truck at a station on Bryant and 17th Street shot by zrants.

The first order of business for SFMTA is to support the needs of Muni riders. How are these programs solving Muni problems and why are staff spending so much of the taxpayers’ time and energy supporting the corporations in their efforts to take over our public streets?

Here are some questions that you may want to ponder as you review the material.
What is the ratio of bikes to GoLive Stations and how much money has SFMTA collected from the GoBike program to date as part of the pubic/private enterprise arrangement? Will the contract that was signed with Motivate be extended to Lyft when the ride-share purchases GoBikes from Motivate? How have other cities dealt with these issues?

 

‘Eroding the Confidence’: SF Mayor Breed Blasts Muni Officials For Flawed Service

By Sam Brock : nbcbayareanews – excerpt (includes video)

One day after San Francisco Mayor London Breed blasted the Muni director in a letter, accusing him of “eroding the confidence” of riders in the system, the mayor took a ride on Muni and continued her criticism.

Breed said Tuesday you can’t push people to use public transportation and then have the transit not work. From widespread delays in service to the recent death of a construction worker, Breed said she’s fed up, and her concerns are echoing through City Hall… (more)

SFMTA Board reacted to the Mayor’s threats and the public’s outrage by ignoring it.

First, they ignored public request to limit the Geary BRT Red Lanes to Muni and taxis only, and retain some popular bus stops.

The Board approved recently unveiled plans to allow non-public transportation corporations access to Transit only Red Lanes.  Liz Brisson, SFMTA’s Project Manager for the Geary Project, claimed the definition of a bus is a vehicle transporting 9 or more people. This is news to many people who opposed the non-Muni vehicles at the meetings. When was this definition written and why was this intent not explained in previous presentations of the Geary BRT plan?

Were the Supervisors aware of this when they approved Phase I of the Geary BRT?

Will this new information be factored into the case against Phase II of the Geary BRT currently under litigation, or will City Hall settle the case rather than continue to fund the legal battles of this devious department?

Not only did we learn that Transit only does not mean public transit only, but, we also learned that the claims of time savings in the red lanes is not supported by factual analysis of existing red lanes. Perhaps we now can see the reasons why that may be the case. It seems that all red lanes are not created equal. It seems that the only time pubic transit only applies is when the lanes are “protected” inside a physical barrier. Otherwise you must read the signs to determine who is allowed on the red lanes. This begs the question, why paint the lanes red when the color is meaningless? Who is making a profit off this paint job?

After the startling bait and switch revelations and the Geary BRT approval, the Board went into private session for Ed Reiskin’s job review. As expected, the Board ignored the Mayor’s comments on the Director’s poor leadership and mismanagement of contracts.

The SFMTA Board commended Ed Reiskin on his work with the department, failed to scold or reprimand him for any of his mistakes or misdeeds, included those he admitted to, and announced their continued support for his leadership of the disgraced department.

What will our Mayor do about this rogue board and department that insults our intelligence by repeated attempts to deceive us? Will she appoint a strong new Director to the Board to replace the recently departed one hired by the department to handle the public through public outreach? Will the Board of Supervisors hand the decision over to the public in the form of a Charter Amendment? Will our Mayor support this option? You may want to weigh in if you have an opinion. Contacts with City Hall are here:  https://discoveryink.wordpress.com/san-francisco-officials/

REALATED:

Private buses have driven in city ‘transit-only’ lanes for years — with the city’s blessing, and in spite of the law

By Joe Eskenazi : missionlocal – excerpt

… Does it make sense to allow private buses or other such vehicles in red carpet lanes — or not — on a Byzantine, lane-by-lane, project-by-project basis? If you’re a transit layman, you’d probably say “no.” And, it turns out, if you’re a transit expert you’d say “no,” too…

The city’s administration of its “transit-only” lanes has only grown more haphazard and opaque in the past dozen years — not that the citizens who came out Tuesday to yell about the Geary Rapid Project (or, quite possibly, the commissioners they were yelling at) ever realized this was happening…

But is it legal? That’s confusing, too… (more)

 

Should private shuttles be able to use Muni-only lanes?

By Tim Redmond : 48hills – excerpt

MTA says yes — but the public can weigh in Tuesday.

San Francisco transit planners have been working for years on a proposal to create bus-only lanes on Geary Boulevard. It’s called Bus Rapid Transit, and the idea is that – since we (unfortunately) don’t have a subway line underneath the Geary corridor, we can do the next best thing by creating lanes just for Muni.

Time the traffic signals right, keep cars out of the way of buses, and people can ride faster from the Richmond and the Western Addition to downtown…

The plan comes up for discussion at the MTA’s meeting Tuesday/21 – and there’s a twist…

Activists have discovered that Muni’s current proposal would allow not only Muni buses but private shuttles, like Chariot and the Google buses – to use the city’s public transit-only lanes.

Environmentalist and transit advocate Sue Vaughan (who has also written for 48hills) asked at an MTC Citizens Advisory Committee meeting in July whether private shuttles would be allowed to use the BRT lanes. MTC staff didn’t have an answer at that point – but a series of follow-up emails obtained by Vaughan show that the department believes under current rules, any private company that runs a bus with a capacity of more than ten people (including the driver) would count as “transit” and would be allowed on what were originally described as Muni-only lanes… (more)

The national press has been covering the anger and actions against privatization of public streets for years. SF Board of supervisors passed Ordinanace 180089 to give voters some control over access to curbs. There hearings on the horizon along with the Controller reports we have requested for months.

What does SFMTA do? Blame Muni for the slowdown and hand over more traffic lanes to private enterprise, not covered by the ordinance. while spending hours of staff time developing an elite program for corporate e-bikes, and deserting vast numbers of Muni riders during the largest transit crisis in years.

Must the public demand the removal of Reiskin and a vote on a Charter Amendment to roll back SFMTA autonomy to get relief? Will Mayor Breed appoint a strong new MTA Board Director to the current regime at the SFMTA Board, who will return Muni’s attention to making Muni an attractive reliable functioning option?

You can only pretend the emperor is dressed for so long. It is hard to take a bus that does not arrive to pick you up. It is past time to replace the leadership at SFMTA.

RELATED:

Letters to SFMTA Board:

http://www.sfexaminer.com/private-transit-not-belong-dedicated-bus-lanes/

https://metermadness.wordpress.com/red-lane-experiments/private-transport-should-not-be-allowed-to-use-transit-only-lanes/

 

 

Breaking: Proposed Uber and Lyft per-ride surcharge could pump $30M a year into San Francisco’s coffers

By Joe Eskenazi : missionlocal – excerpt

Deal struck to drop proposed gross receipts tax on Uber, Lyft paves way for city to glean per-ride charges

Supervisor Aaron Peskin today confirmed that he’s dropped his plans to hit “Transportation Network Companies” — Uber, Lyft, etc. — with a gross receipts tax on their revenue. As such, the companies will acquiesce to a proposed per-ride surcharge, to be enabled by forthcoming state legislation from Assemblyman Phil Ting.

Peskin said the proposed 3.25-percent tax on every TNC ride in the city could result in users of Uber, Lyft,  et al. pumping $30 million a year into San Francisco’s municipal piggybank — and perhaps more in the future… (more)

We do need a bit of clarification on the meaning of this “deal”.  What is the goal of taxing the TNCs? To make money to control traffic and gridlock, or are there other issues the public would like to address and does this deal address those issues? SF is not the only city effected by this problem that has increased regional traffic as well. How will a fee solve the bad driving habits of ride-share drivers?\

Seattle did not settle on a small surcharge option.

RELATED:

Chinese bike share company to leave Seattle after city approves program, steep permit fees

By Matt Mokovich : komonews – excerpt

SEATTLE – Ofo is out. The Chinese-based and heavily funded bike share program said the City Council’s decision on Monday to impose an annual $250,000 permit fee for bike share companies wishing to operate in Seattle was too much…

“The exorbitant fees that accompany these new regulations -the highest in the country – make it impossible for Ofo to operate and effectively serve our riders,” Lina Feng, General Manager of Ofo Seattle said in a statement on Monday. “As a result, we will not be seeking a permit to continue operating in Seattle.”…(more)

Is this what it takes? $25000.00 fees.