Muni apologizes for systemwide failures

By : curbed – excerpt

Hundreds of service hours have lapsed citywide this summer

Muni service—which has never enjoyed a resounding reputation even at the best of times—has gotten so spotty and unreliable lately that SFMTA published an apology to riders Thursday. The agency vows to shore up weaknesses in the strained and struggling transit network. This comes one the heels of a report by Mission Local detailing how the city’s transit service failed miserably this year.

“Muni service in the past few months has been performing below our 98.5 percent service goal,” the public message reads. “We apologize and want to let you know what we’re doing about it.”

The service goal mentioned here is actually part of the City Charter, which specifies that “98.5 percent of scheduled [Muni] service hours must be delivered, and at least 98.5 percent of scheduled vehicles must begin service at the scheduled time.”… (more)

Please let the Mayor and the Board of Supervisors know if you are fed up and demand a change at the SFMTA. ENUF ALREADY! Apology for being the worst, most boastful, incompetent, breast-pumping, annoying, overpaid, disgusting, overbearing, least reliable city agency in San Francisco, NOT ACCEPTED! There is no solution other than a complete overhaul and new management that will heel the bad blood between the public and the SFMTA. There is no place to hide the mistakes and mismanagement of the most expensive city agency that can do no right.

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Muni memo reveals internal agency struggle to solve operator shortage

By Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez : sfexaminer – excerpt

The backbone of San Francisco’s commute, Muni, is suffering a citywide slowdown.

But that transportation crisis might have been averted, some transit officials allege, if warnings of operator training shortages late last year had been heeded.

Internal strife within the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency over how to handle that shortage was revealed by an internal memo obtained by the San Francisco Examiner in a public records request…

Irwin Lum, a past president of the Muni operator union, TWU Local 250-A, said the email showed SFMTA “tried to put too many changes in at once.”

“The training department couldn’t handle it,” he said. But he also noted that Kirschbaum and the transit department should have anticipated the training department would not have been able to keep pace with all the historic service boosts they were trying to implement at Muni.

“I think her expectations were too high,” Lum said. “This place don’t function like that, you know what I mean?”… (more)

Cancel all new projects until the ones that are unfinished are complete.

We sound like a broken record repeating over and over again, “SLOW DOWN. Quit adding more layers of confusion on the over-burdened public that doesn’t want or need any more changes to deal with.”

All changes is not good. A reliable system should be SFMTA’s top priority.

San Francisco residents want and deserve a city that moves freely, not a state-of-the-art testing ground for tech. No one wants to get up in the morning to ask their phone how they are getting to work today. Your productivity falls immediately once you start in a stressful confused state.

RELATED:

Muni failed to warn mayor’s office of induced service meltdown, sources say

By Joe Eskenazi : missionlocal – excerpt (includes graphics)

A chart documenting Muni’s missed hours of service. The yellow arrow indicates June 25, the date of the Twin Peaks tunnel closure. Graphic by Steve Pepple.

On Monday, Mission Local published an article with documentation revealing that Muni has inflicted citywide transit mayhem by shunting buses and drivers off its most crowded lines to patch service during the long-planned Twin Peaks tunnel closure. Some of San Francisco’s busiest bus routes have been hamstrung with unannounced, de-facto cuts of up to 33 percent, resulting in thousands of hours of missed service, long waits, packed vehicles and legions of agitated riders…

As such, even high-level city officials — like the rest of us — didn’t realize the ensuing months of abysmal transit service wasn’t just Muni business-as-usual until they read about it in the newspaper: First, in late July, in the Examiner, and then on this site this week, with additional data and details…(more)

 

 

Thank You Mayor Breed and our District Supervisors

Thanks for passing Ordinance 180089 and stopping the ripoff of our public curb space by corporate entities.

I think I speak for most of the citizens of San Francisco who appreciate the work you have done so far to return a balance of power to the citizens of San Francisco who have been devastated by the constant havoc on our streets and sell-off of our public curbs.

As we move into the November election season it is good to reflect on mistakes that got us where we are now so we may avoid repeating them. All departments need oversight, respect for the public, and a balance of power. No one is about the law. We will be asking the candidates how they plan to protect our communities when they join the power structure at City Hall.

It is good to see continuity at the Planning Commission as the department attempts to balance the demands of nervous residents and businesses with those of the big money corporate entities who demand extraordinary profits from the large swaths of land they control. We need calm, cool minds to deal with the changes coming out of Sacramento and the mounting pubic push-back from every corner of the state. We know the problems. We need solutions. Some of these may come from the voters.

Thank you all for your support and we look forward to a peaceful and productive election season with hope in our hearts that we may move along the path of honesty and sincerity. We anticipate a fair and reasonable city government we can trust to keep our interests at heart, protect our fragile cultural rich communities, and resist the takeover by the state and federal governments of our local jurisdiction over land use and development decisions.

Supes, neighbors block Ford GoBike’s citywide expansion

By Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez : sfexaminer – excerpt

Ford GoBike’s expansion has been halted and slowed across The City, and the reason given is often the same — there wasn’t enough notice given.

From Glen Park to the Haight, the Mission District and most recently, the Marina, residents are pushing back against the rental bike docks, which are usually placed in parking spaces meant for cars.

And as the bike rental service is on the cusp of its planned expansion to 7,000 bikes Bay Area-wide, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors is also increasingly pushing back against it and the Lyft-owned company that operates the program, Motivate, by saying that not enough notice has been offered to neighbors about new station installations…

But while each supervisor sees this problem through a neighborhood-focused lense, each individual battle adds up: The bikeshare-slowdown now stretches citywide… (more)

First we want to thank our supervisors for supporting the rights of residents and the public to determine how our streets are used. Stopping the spread of corporate controlled curb space is important. Some people may not be aware that the Board of Supervisors passed Ordinance 180089 to allow the public to make these decisions by giving the supervisors greater control and oversight of the SFMTA Board decisions. Look it up if you are not familiar with the ordinance: https://metermadness.wordpress.com/actions/sfmta-review/

We need some data on the number of stations to bikes Motivate and other private entities have installed in the city and the number of vehicles assigned to private parking spots. We have noted a number of GoBikes parked in public bike parking spots that are meant for private bikes and a lot of empty Motivate racks.

Perhaps we need to ask Randy Rentschler, director of legislation and public affairs with the Metropolitan Transportation Commission, which negotiated Ford GoBike’s exclusivity contract to provide docked bikeshares within the Bay Area, what the intent of that contract was or is. He claims he just wrote the contracts and it is up to us to deal with them. If the public objects to them being placed on our streets they should honor our objections. We don’t need an excuse.

The above mentioned ordinance is a good start in taking back control of our streets, but the voters of San Francisco may want to consider a Charter Amendment as well if these matters and others are not resolved to our satisfaction soon. Let Mayor Breed and the Board of Supervisors and the candidates running for office know how you feel. They are in office to serve the public not the corporations.

SF supe calls for hearing to investigate citywide Muni delays

By : sfexaminer – excerpt

Muni service has slowed to a crawl citywide, and now one supervisor wants answers.

At the Tuesday meeting of the Board of Supervisors Supervisor Vallie Brown called for a hearing into Muni slowdowns that have affected more than 30 routes across The City.

“Not a day has gone by that I haven’t heard from my constituents about the issues we’re facing with Muni, that it’s not reliable, and that there are not enough buses,” Brown told the San Francisco Examiner in a statement… (more)

Good start for the new supervisor. Hope we can see some action from the rest of the Board to stop the new projects until they finish the ones they have going now. They should drop all unnecessary projects and put some on hold while they figure out how to move the riders who need to get to work every day. We don’t need high tech gadgets and data. We need low tech buses and trains that run on a regular schedule we can rely on.

RELATED:
Video Interview with BATWG Chair Jerry Cauthen
Some suggestions for solving the problem that may interest our resaders.

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. 

SFPD Traffic Department Woefully Understaffed

By Nuala Sawyer : sfweekly – excerpt

At any given point there are only eight traffic officers patrolling the entirety of San Francisco…

It’s easy to assume that a cop just wasn’t around to catch that car turning right from a middle lane or running a stop sign, but pay attention long enough, and it seems like there just aren’t any traffic officers… well, anywhere. With enforcement a key part of the Vision Zero plan to eliminate all traffic fatalities by 2024, checking in on if the San Francisco Police Department is doing their part seems like a no-brainer. And in a hearing called by Supervisor Sandra Lee Fewer on Wednesday, we learned the truth: The traffic department (formally called the Traffic Company) is incredibly understaffed… (more)

Read the full letter from Julie Kirschbaum, written October 6, 2017, that warned of training needs here

How is it possible that SF’s $11 billion budget does not buy more traffic enforcement? Who are they hiring and training why if not to run the Muni and patrol the streets?

No wonder SF is in declining into below third world standards. SFMTA is not the only city department with questionable priorities and policies. Why is City Hall mindlessly signing a 11 million dollar budget before scrutinizing it? Only Supervisor Fewer opposed the SFMTA budget. It time to return the line item veto to regain control of these agencies.

Who decided we need more parking control officers than traffic control officers? Whoever prioritized parking enforcement over traffic control should be fired.

Muni suffering major citywide service gaps due to operator shortage

By : sfexaminer – excerpt

Muni is suffering a major citywide slowdown.

An operator shortage has left scheduled buses sitting still at Muni yards, engines cold. Those “not outs,” Muni operator-slang for a bus or train “not out in service,” have caused drastically long wait times for service across San Francisco for months, public data obtained and analyzed by the San Francisco Examiner shows.

On any particular weekday almost a hundred buses — ones meant to run — sit unused due to a lack of operators. The usual lines for downtown buses have grown into crowds. Lucky riders find themselves packed ever-closer to their fellow passengers while unlucky riders see full-to-the-brim buses pass them up outright.

Riders have seen wait times lag on the most crucial commuter lines: 48 minute waits on the 1BX, 24 minute waits on the 38-Geary, 27 minute waits on the 1-California. Major slowdowns have hit all of San Francisco’s neighborhoods, from rich to poor, cutting across all of the diverse populations that rely on Muni for work and school… (more)

For some time people have been suggesting SFMTA slow down street construction projects and emphasize improving Muni service and operations. Have we reached the point where this may be the best solution?

This is not a problem of cash flow or shortage of funds. This is a problem of SFMTA priorities and policies not meeting the goals and needs of the public. As the public loses confidence in Muni service and reliability they are turning to private vehicles, ride-hails and other transit options. Perhaps this is the goal of SFMTA. Perhaps they want to turn over the public transit system to the corporate giants who are clamoring to take it over.

A new study says services like UberPool and Lyft Line are making traffic worse

By Faiz Siddiqui of The Washington Post : mercurynews – excerpt

The explosive growth of Uber and Lyft has created a new traffic problem for major U.S. cities and ride-sharing options such as UberPool and Lyft Line are exacerbating the issue by appealing directly to customers who would otherwise have taken transit, walked, biked or not used a ride-hail service at all, according to a new study.

The report by Bruce Schaller, author of the influential study, “Unsustainable?”, which found ride-hail services were making traffic congestion in New York City worse, constructs a detailed profile of the typical ride-hail user and issues a stark warning to cities: make efforts to counter the growth of ride-hail services, or surrender city streets to fleets of private cars, creating a more hostile environment for pedestrians and cyclists and ultimately make urban cores less desirable places to live.

Schaller concludes that where private ride options such as UberX and Lyft have failed on promises to cut down on personal driving and car ownership – both of which are trending up – pooled ride services have lured a different market that directly competes with subway and bus systems, while failing to achieve significantly better efficiency than their solo alternatives. The result: more driving overall.

Ride sharing has added 5.7 billion vehicle miles to nine major urban areas over six years, the report says, and the trend is “likely to intensify” as the popularity of the services surges. (The study notes that total ride-hailing trips in New York increased 72 percent from 2016 to 2017 and 47 percent in Seattle over that time. Revenue data from the D.C. Department of For-Hire Vehicles showed the ride-hailing industry’s growth quadrupled in the District from late 2015 to 2017.)

The nine cities studied were New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Boston, Washington, Miami, Philadelphia, San Francisco and Seattle..

.. (more)

Instead of admitting that the ride-hails are adding to the traffic, the EMERGING MOBILITY | EVALUATION REPORT put out for the SFCTA, blamed the TNCs for not releasing their data. One doesn’t need the TNC’s data to observe that the ride-hails pouring into the city from out of town to compete with all the pubic transit systems are private vehicles. Since they don’t park, but drive around waiting for a ride, there is bound to be more traffic on all the streets. There is an easy solution to that problem. Return the curbs back to the public.

Here is an idea of a pilot project: Remove the special the parking privileges for the TNCs. Return street parking to the public in some neighborhoods and see if more people driving themselves around and parking doesn’t result in less traffic and healthier retail stores. Once the ride-hails lose their customers, they will quit driving into town. That should clear some of the congestion off the bridges and highways, and maybe more people will switch back to public transportation, especially if the bus stops are left in place.

Peskin expands SF rideshare tax to include self-driving vehicle companies, e-commerce websites

By Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez : sfexaminer – excerpt

A gross receipts tax on so-called “rideshares” in San Francisco for this November’s ballot — including Uber and Lyft — has been expanded to also tax companies making self-driving cars and some e-commerce websites.

E-commerce sites would be charged based on how much business they conduct in San Francisco, instead of on their physical presence in The City, according to the newly updated language of the law. Those amendments were introduced by Supervisor Aaron Peskin late last week and last month, and will go before the next regular meeting of the Board of Supervisors Budget and Finance sub-committee for consideration, Thursday.

Should four or more supervisors ultimately approve Peskin’s proposal before a deadline of August 3, the measure will go before voters this November… (more)

The Chamber is over thinking things. The goal for taxing alternative transit companies is not the same as taxing cannabis and the money will not be used the same way. The voters are more likely to approve a tax on one industry than a lot of them and voting on one at a time is less confusing. This is partly about leveling the playing field for competitors. They should also remove the rate-setting regulations for the cab companies. If this tax law passed and they removed SFMTA regulations on cab rates, they would almost remove the competitive edge for the taxi industry.

While they are at it the Supervisors should do more than just tax the ride-hails. They should investigate the contracts SFMTA has with these entities, particularly the Motivate contract that the SFMTA intends to extend to Lyft.

The supervisors should stop this and all other contracts that the SFMTA is signing with the ride-hails and other private corporations that is privatizing public property.

If you agree, please let the Mayor and the Board of Supervisors know. They need to convince the SFMTA to stop this practice. If the SFMTA fails to stop, they need to put the Charter Amendment on the ballot with strong teeth that limits the contractual authorities of the SFMTA.

If only task the SFMTA had was to run the Muni, they might do a better job of that.