Bay Area Public Transit Agency To Subsidize Uber, Lyft Rides

By Ian Wenik : thestreet – excerpt

NEW YORK (TheStreet) — The Livermore Amador Valley Transit Authority (LAVTA), a public transit agency that operates in the California Bay Area suburbs, is testing out a new initiative: subsidized ridesharing trips.

LAVTA, which operates buses in cities such as Dublin, Livermore and Pleasanton, is set to roll out the service on a one-year trial in mid-September. The plan will offer riders in certain areas of Dublin subsidized Uber and Lyft fares to local destinations at prices ranging from $3 to $5, according to the San Jose Mercury News.

LAVTA Executive Director Michael Tree explained the reasoning behind the program in an appearance on CNBC’s “Squawk Alley.”… (more)

If you didn’t need more proof that the plan is to privatize transportation systems after the government takes away your right to own your own transportation, this is it. It is the classic”Bait and Switch” scheme.

  • First they convince you that “parking isn’t free so they can charge you to park on the public streets.
  • Then they claim they can provide the transportation system you need while “calming traffic”.
  • Next they claim they need more money to “improve service” and raise the taxes fines and fees.
  • Next they “improve service by removing bus stops and seats, forcing more people to stand so they can fit in more people.
  • Then, when they have millions of people depending on them for service, they tell you to take the new “smart” corporate car service that they will subsidize so you can afford it.

The joke, if it was a joke, is that we had the private car service when we started on this journey, but now instead of owning our own homes and cars, we rent them from the corporation that can control our every move, and the worst traffic nightmare imaginable.

If this picture bothers you support the Prop L, the SFMTA Charter Amendment: stopsfmta.com

 

New elevator, upgrades coming to Milk plaza

With transit officials set to add a second elevator at the Muni station in the Castro, they are also floating ideas to remodel the public plaza that surrounds it.

Named for Harvey Milk, the city’s first gay elected official who was killed in office in 1978, the plaza has long vexed neighborhood leaders since it first opened nearly four decades ago. Its design has been derided as uninviting with poorly laid out spaces little used other than by smokers or homeless people…

Now two city agencies, the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency and San Francisco Public Works, are proposing to make several changes to the plaza’s design as part of a project to improve pedestrian access throughout the space.

“We have been working with folks in the neighborhood and the SFMTA and DPW for a while now brainstorming ideas, with the overall goal being to open up the plaza and to turn this space into a useable plaza,” said District 8 Supervisor Scott Wiener, a gay man who represents the Castro at City Hall. “The way it is designed right now, it is so broken up with narrow spaces it is not useable. It ends up leading to problem activities.”… (more)

NO MORE TAXES. What does making a useable plaza have to do with SFMTA’s mission of transporting people and goods around the city? This is why we are opposing any new taxes. Re-designing public space by digging up concrete and re-pouring it in different configurations is a waste of taxpayer funds that should be dedicated to improving public transportation. DPW should not spend time or energy on this either. They are far behind on street and pothole repairs. NO MORE TAXES.

SFMTA Readies Limited Roll Back on Mission Transit Project

By sf.streetsblog – excerpt

SFMTA staff has released its recommendations for compromises to its recently completed Mission Street transit upgrades. In addition to plans to relocate the outbound Cortland stop to the nearside of the intersection, the staff wants to move forward with (from the agency’s FAQ):

  • Removing two of the required right turns on Mission at 26th and 22nd. This will allow vehicles to travel four blocks on Mission before encountering a required right turn, making it easier to access businesses and find parking along the street. We expect this change to improve traffic circulation without increasing through traffic or delaying bus riders.
  • Exempting taxis from the left turn restriction at 21st Street. This exemption, in the middle of the Mission corridor, will provide more options for taxis to reach their destinations…

Business owners around the intersections in question, meanwhile, still want Mission restored to how it was before March, when SFMTA put down the “red-carpet” lanes for transit. Patel Varsho, who’s owned “King of Fashions,” a clothing shop on Mission, since 1991, said they’ve felt the cuts to parking and that  “Business is slow.” Mihee Lee owns the “Smile Bar-B-Q,” a nearby lunch counter on Mission at 22nd. “Customers have no parking,” she said. “Business is down 20 percent.” Neither commented specifically on the significance of eliminating the turn restrictions, and instead were concerned primarily about parking…

Despite claims of improved reliability, the transit lanes don’t seem to have improved bus spacing. Three 14s in a row pulled into the stop on 22nd… (more)

What do you suppose convinced SFMTA to “improve” their controversial improvements? Did the threat of a Charter Amendment coming out of a western district convinced them they have gone too far? Claims that the buses are not any more reliable now than they were before the red carpet got laid?

Sit through one SFMTA Board Meeting and you will know the answer. We sat through a relatively productive SFMTA staff meeting yesterday and came up with some very cheap, fast fixes for staff to take back to their bosses that we told them would help the Mission merchants recover from their losses but we don’t expect them to listen to us.

San Francisco needs traffic flow, not traffic control. Until that mindset changes residents will not be happy with the SFMTA.

The voters, particularly the ones on Lombard, Masonic, Geary, Van Ness, Taraval, 16th Street and Potrero Avenue, to name a few, will not trust the SFMTA to listen to them either and will probably support the SFMTA Charter Amendment: Details here: stopsfmta.com

Rider wants Muni Service Restored

Herbert Weiner response to Conor Johnson oped in San Francisco Examiner:

Dear Mr. Johnston:

As someone who rides MUNI on a near daily basis, I feel compelled to respond to your recent opinion piece in the San Francisco Examiner. Please excuse this belated response.

MUNI, potentially the best transportation service in the country, falls dramatically short of its potential.

For too many times, there have been late, missing, switchbacks and breakdowns of buses. MUNI celebrates Halloween each day, because each day has a horror story.

This problem has not been sufficiently addressed, because the internal operations and communication, control and command structure of MUNI are ignored. Even with the grandiose visions of MUNI Forward, the system will not function well if internal problems of MUNI are not addressed. There has been little, if any transparency, about these elements of MUNI.

Instead, the problem has been externalized with consolidation of bus stops and the elimination and modification of bus runs that have served the neighborhoods. It will take as much as one quarter of a mile to walk to a bus stop, adversely impacting seniors and the disabled; the Municipal Transit Agency gives lower priority to bicyclists who are hail and hearty and, on the average, under 50 years of age. Can you imagine individuals with arthritis, emphysema or other disease, who are barely able to climb the steps of a transportation vehicle, walking such a long distance? Some MTA managers, with tongue in cheek, will say that walking is good for you. But the Turks must have said that to the Armenians before their death march. There has never been a medical opinion about such a hardship that has been sought by MTA administrators which might very well be a violation of the American Disability Act. MTA can counter that Paratransit is the answer. But that service is already overloaded with its own unreliability. Why substitute Paratransit for bus services that presently meet the needs of senior and disabled passengers?

Will elimination of bus stops result in faster MUNI speed? This is debatable because, with the internal problems of MUNI and the unreliability of buses as a primary problem, there is no guarantee. In addition, the proclaimed advantages of bus stop elimination and consolidation are offset by longer walking time which can result in the missing of a bus and the increased boarding times.

Bus services are being decreased and removed from the neighborhoods. The 2 Clement line, a perfectly good line, has been morphed into the 2 Sutter line which will cover only two blocks on Clement Street. This will affect merchants and shopping along that corridor with decreased access to businesses and services on that street. The 26 Valencia bus which ran directly to St. Luke’s Hospital, served the Merced Extended Neighborhood Triangle District bordering Daly City and traveled to San Francisco State University has also been axed. The 18 bus line which previously ran directly to the Cliff House, a San Francisco landmark, has been altered. The 33 line, a bus in District 5, will no longer run to San Francisco General Hospital which could be life threatening to severely ill patients. And the 47 line will no longer run to the Hall of Justice which will be detrimental to jurors and the legal process itself.

Citizens have been pointing out these problems to the deaf ears of MTA for some time with no redress. Instead, MTA formulates its plans and dumps them on the public which are forced to cope with these poor decisions and policies. The outreach of MTA is basically a ritual and joke, because that agency hears but does not listen. This is supposed to be a public service.

You have noted the density of the city in your article. According to MTA, San Francisco’s density is second to New York. In previous decades, the coverage of MUNI services embraced the whole city, reflecting its density and the needs of the neighborhoods. The problem then, as now, was making this comprehensive system work in order that buses arrive on time with good frequency. This core problem has never been addressed sufficiently by MUNI. The internal problem of MUNI is now being externalized with MUNI Forward which evades the above issue.

Transportation services are being stripped from the neighborhoods on the grounds of supply and demand. Market system economics are being applied to a public service which is supposed to address need. It is equivalent to the police saying that, because only one crime occurs in a part of town in contrast to other neighborhoods, services should be reduced to certain areas of the city. Every neighborhood needs services which are constantly being taken away to the detriment of the public.

One of the reasons for slow travel time is the city’s density. This underlines the need for more buses and drivers. I noted that when I was in London in 1991, the underground trains were backed up behind each other which meant that, if you missed one coach, another train would be available.

The argument that MTA trots out is that there are limited funds. But this falls flat in light of the proliferation of six digit salaries of MTA management, ever expanding bike lanes and the boondoggled Central Subway. 1.5 million dollars has been paid to Barbary Coast, an advertising agency to promote MUNI Forward. This agency is not poor and constantly asks for more money which it will do perpetually after you and I are gone.

$2.25 per ride is a bargain on the face of it. But now trouble is no longer free. The service is actually worsening. I have waited too many times in the dead of night for the 1 California line, one of the showpiece lines of MUNI.

While the slogan of MTA is “Transit First” it should be “Bicycles First”. The Bicycle Coalition gets royal treatment to the neglect of passengers. You might say that they remove cars from the streets. But so do I when I take MUNI. What do we get? Less service and accessibility!

These are my impressions which you may or may not agree with.

And I hope that you have not worked for MTA or plan to. This would certainly affect your thinking and article that you have written.

Just remember one of the mottos of MTA: “We break it. You own and ride it!”

                                                                                                            Very truly yours,

Herbert J. Weiner

 

Your Muni Fast Pass Will Cost More Next Month

f you’re someone who uses a monthly pass to ride Muni, you’ll be digging just a little deeper to pay for it next month. Not a lot deeper, but deeper, nonetheless.

The increase, which ranges between one and three dollars dependent on the pass, was decided back in April when the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency board approved their two-year budget, a post on the SFMTA’s blog reminds us. Part of that budget included upping the price of almost all monthly passes, thusly:

fast_passes.jpg

“While nobody loves to pay more, fares must keep pace with rising costs and inflation,” the SFMTA acknowledges. And with an anticipated $13.5 million budget shortfall in 2017 and a predicted $14.3 million shortfall in 2018, Muni certainly knows about rising costs!… (more)

What happened to the idea of the day rate or the ability to purchase usable at any time tickets instead of the monthly rate? MTA CAC suggested that a long time ago. Muni gets their money up front and occasional riders don’t lose money. BART uses that method. Muni seems to enjoy ripping as many people off as they can.

Chariot, an alternative to Muni for your downtown/SOMA commute

from Potrero Hill : nextdoor – excerpt

Hi neighbors. If you commute to downtown or SOMA, you might be interested in signing up for Chariot (those blue vans all around town). The route runs along much of the same line as the 10 Townsend but with minimal stops. What’s great about Chariot is that you can reserve a seat in the van, and the price is only $3-5 each way. Plus you can use your commuter benefits, so it’s a win-win.

They still need 49 more people to sign up for the Potrero Pronto line in order to put it into circulation, which is why I’m posting about it here. You can learn more and sign up at https://www.chariot.com/crowdfund/potrer…

Comment from next door… “This is what’s on Next Door Potrero Hill and I’m seeing more and more of the Chariots around town like the two filling up at the 76 where I see the UCSF transport fill up… When I asked if property values were increasing in Wyoming (because I know they are increasing just like here near Jackson Hole), I was told me that there may be transportation created to connect her area to the Jackson Hole airport. I think there is a boom in private transportation.  People are willing to pay for it.  $30.00 to $50.00 / week. Up to $200/mo or $2400 per year as opposed to Muni/Bart card ($120/mo?). SFMTA/Muni are losing customers and revenue… And it was a 7/11 24hour store who delivered the first coffee and diapers? by drone about a month ago…Is the SFMTA obsolete? Is their interpretation of all these changes wrong? Shouldn’t public transportation MUNI be a separate department from roads and parking? Is the SFMTA too big?

IS SFMTA OBSOLETE? Not until voters CUT OFF THE FUNDS and change the balance of power by supporting the SFMTA Charter Amendment on the November ballot. Details here:  stopsfmta.com

There is no way the SFMTA can compete with the comfort and efficiency of the private shuttles and maybe they should not bother. Muni is the cheap alternative cattle ride for the public that has no other option but standing room only crowded buses. This is the third world system – three public transportation options at three different price points for getting around. All we need to make the system complete is a return of the jitney.

 

$40M in funding approved to ease Bay Bridge commute

Squabbling Supes send SFMTA board battle to voters

By Jerold Chinn : sfbay – excerpt

San Francisco voters this November will get to decide if the mayor and the Board of Supervisors should split the responsibility of making appointments onto the City’s transportation agency’s board.

Supervisors on Tuesday voted 6-5 to place the charter amendment onto the ballot, which would allow the mayor to appoint four members of the Municipal Transportation Agency’s Board of Directors while supervisors would get to appoint three members.

The measure would also change the threshold from seven to six on the number of supervisors it would take to reject the transit agency’s budget.

Supervisors Scott Wiener, Katy Tang, Mark Farrell, Malia Cohen and London Breed voted against the charter amendment… (more)

Considering that San Francisco used to be the “City that knows How”, we certainly forgot how to manage the flow of traffic. Under the current regime of the SFMTA San Francisco went from the easiest to travel around in city to the 3rd worst traffic city in the US. We can do better. Thanks to the Supervisors who are giving us a chance to prove it.

Muni takes steps to reduce surge in bus crashes

By Jerold Chinn : sfbay – excerpt

Muni officials are taking steps to decrease the number of bus and light-rail collisions with private vehicles and objects on San Francisco streets.

During the last five months, the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency has seen a decrease in light-rail collisions. Bus collisions, though, are trending upward, according to data obtained from the transit agency by SFBay.

In February, the SFMTA reported that 113 buses either collided with another private vehicle or by hitting an object such as a pole or a transit shelter. In June, that number increased to 173 collisions, the SFMTA reports…

Some of the hotspots for vehicle collisions included Mission and Main streets, Fourth and Townsend streets, and along Third Street…

Check out the video on Third Street if you haven’t experienced it yet for yourself. This the worst, least safe street alteration we have seen. Try it in the rain for a real treat.

Buses Versus Fixed Objects

Objects such as poles and transit shelters are also getting in the way of Muni buses. Transit officials said they analyzed the data to find out where the most fixed object collisions occurred and to see with which objects Muni vehicles were likely to collide… (more)

The collisions wouldn’t have anything to do with the narrow lanes they are imposing on all the streets or the insane twists and turns they have introduced on all the formerly straight lanes with the insane idea that the streets would be “calmer” and safer for pedestrians because the “cars” would have to drive slower?  Someone should also inform the SFMTA geniuses that a certain percentage of the population is color blind so their pretty red and green streets look gray and mean nothing to those people. Maybe they should get some Muni drivers and emergency transit people involved in the street alterations since they are ones who have to drive on them. Don’t even get me started on the paint over potholes on Mission Street. There is only one answer to solving the problems described in this article. Fire the the people who are responsible and support the SFMTA Charter Amendment to bring some sanity into this insane department. Get all the details on StopSFMTA.com

City makes last call for tech shuttle ‘transit hubs’

By on July 4, 2016 1:00 am

Last Call is right. Who is going to respond on Fourth of July? And who is going to read the response?

San Francisco will close its first survey on the controversial “hub model” for private commuter shuttles today. The shuttles, locally nicknamed “Google Buses,” are perhaps best known for ferrying technology workers to Silicon Valley.

The survey was an effort by the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency to answer one key question:

If created, where in The City would the shuttle hubs go?

The results were more than 900 answers suggesting neighborhoods across San Francisco to host these new “shuttle hubs,” as of July 1.

The San Francisco Examiner requested early results to showcase where residents opinions before the survey closed.

Where should they go?
San Franciscans suggested many neighborhoods to host commuter shuttle hubs in an online survey by the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency. The Examiner compiled the most numerous suggested neighborhoods here. Some people suggested “none” and opposed the notion of shuttle hubs, which is included in the tally. Note: The survey completes July 4, this list was compiled July 1. The results are preliminary.

Top suggested neighborhoods and corridors for Commuter Shuttle “Hubs”:
Mission District: 53 (Includes 24th street BART, and other Mission locations)
Van Ness: 41
Glen Park: 40
Noe Valley: 32
The Castro: 31
4th and King Caltrain station: 22
The Marina: 20
None: 24

Responses via SFMTA, compiled by the San Francisco Examiner.

If you feel like you got left out of the survey you might write a letter with your suggestions to the SFMTA Board and the Board of Supervisors explaining that you got the message to late. Here is a shuttle-bus-hubs1 letter with recipients to inspire you.