‘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)

 

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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/

 

 

SFMTA Pulls 180 on Costly McAllister Traffic Circle

By Nuala Sawyer : sfweekly – excerpt

Step aside, needles and poop! Traffic circles are here, and San Franciscans are not happy.

Officials from the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency are backpedaling on an ill-fated traffic circle installed in a residential neighborhood earlier year. The $80,000 circle was installed at McAllister and Steiner streets this spring and is already scheduled for removal — which is another $40,000…

For the past few months, the circle has caused immense confusion for drivers; it doesn’t operate like a normal roundabout, which runs on a first-come, first-serve basis. Instead, two stop signs on Steiner block traffic and give a bus flying down McAllister or a cyclist huffing and puffing up it the right of way through the intersection.

According to neighbors who live along the route, drivers of 5-Fulton buses have been preemptively leaning on their horns as they approach Steiner just in case a car misunderstands the circle and blindly cuts out in front of them… (more)

Here is a perfect example of why we need to overhaul the SFMTA. Too many mistakes and too much wasted taxpayer dollars are going down the drain. Why should the voters support any more money for a failed system? We don’t need faster moving buses. We need a reliable transit system. The Board of Supervisors needs to listen to the operators and maintenance crew and skip the long lunches and meetings with management if they want to find out what the problems are.

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.

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. 

Gas tax repeal campaign focuses on Bay Area commuters, families

The campaign to overturn California’s newly enacted gas tax will hit three Bay Area cities next week, as organizers search for volunteers to post lawn signs, write opinion pieces and spread the taxpayer revolt on social media.

With less than four months to go before the November election, the crusade won’t be easy. Proposition 6, the tax repeal measure, takes aim at a $5 billion-a-year funding stream to fix California’s crumbling roads and boost its mass transit systems.

Environmentalists, transportation officials, construction unions and Gov. Jerry Brown are all fighting to protect those funds, and they have raised $14 million — far more than the $5 million haul of the “Yes on 6” campaign.

But none of that has deterred Prop. 6’s core supporters or its campaign chairman, conservative talk radio host Carl DeMaio…

“This tax affects everybody, but it hits the working poor the hardest,” DeMaio said….(more)

Every price hike on everything effects the working poor and the middle class whose wages have not kept up with the spiraling inflation rates that are hitting California hardest. There are already plans to replace the tax should it be repealed. The idea that the money collected to fix the roads and bridges should not be re-directed into other projects. Some of those ideas are explored here: How-to-replace-the-gas-tax-law-if-its-repealed/   “…a new initiative to REPLACE SB1. That next bill will designate that all current State excise taxes on fuels at the pumps, State sales tax on fuels at the pumps, and new car sales taxes, MUST all go to infrastructure, with NONE going to the general fund…”

Emerging Mobility in San Francisco

from the SFMCTA website: https://www.sfcta.org

Many new technologies and services have appeared on San Francisco’s streets over the past few years, from ride-hail companies, to scooter sharing, to on-demand delivery services.

This month, we released a new report evaluating how these services line up with issues like equity, sustainability, and safety. One major take-away: We found that companies that share data and partner with the City on pilots are better at helping meet City goals.

Learn more: Watch the video and read the report.


Let your supervisor know what you want to do about these corporate entities that are emerging on our streets? Do we want to lose your right to park at the curb? Do you trust the SFMTA to manage the corporations that are threatening to take over the streets?

Are these new jobs, working for Uber Lyft and the rest, any better than the old jobs they are displacing? Were the taxi drivers worse off then the rideshare drivers who are barely making a living wage? Who is benefiting and who is losing out as the SFMTA barrels through the city killing one retail entity after another with their “street improvement” projects?

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.

What Happens When a Company That Sells Car Trips Gets Into the Bike Trip Business?

By Ben Fried : streetsblog – excerpt

Lyft has acquired the nation’s largest bike-share company, setting up a situation where its bike trip sales will cannibalize its car trip sales.

Lyft, Uber’s smaller but gigantic-in-its-own-right competitor in the ride-hailing business, has acquired Motivate, the company that runs several of the largest bike-share systems in America. The price isn’t public yet, but unconfirmed earlier reports pegged it at $250 million. The new entity is called “Lyft Bikes.”

Lyft gets Motivate’s “current engineering, technology, marketing, communications, legal and supply chain capabilities as well as some human resources and finance functions,” according to a spokesperson. Lyft says the terms of contracts with local governments, including agreements with New York, Chicago, San Francisco and other large cities granting varying degrees of exclusivity, will not be affected…

This is a matter of dispute, that may be cause for legal action.

The optimist sees huge potential in the nation’s largest bike-share operator getting an infusion of capital…

The acquisition by Lyft could change this dynamicMotivate has yet to show what it can do with the dockless and electric-assist bicycles it’s been developing

The announcement yesterday renews Motivate’s relevance, with Lyft explicitly mentioning “dockless and pedal-assist electric bikes” as the type of “innovation” it intends to expedite…

The pessimistic take on the deal is that Lyft’s core businessselling car trips in cities — will put a ceiling on what it will do as a bike-share company. ..

I doubt that Lyft will enthusiastically try to convert its car trips to bike trips without some sort of prompt from policy makers. Bike-share is a very low-margin business. … (more)

As the author points out, there are many directions the company may take, and, since the future of bike stations is uncertain there is no reason to expand the most controversial bike-share programs that infuriates the public.

As one of the North Beach patrons asked when the Central Subway was being presented as an extendable program, “How can you aim a tunnel when you don’t know where it is going to end up?” We need to stop installing bike stations and see what the market does.

This matter will be addressed Tuesday at the SFCTA Meeting. around 10 AM in Room 250 at City Hall.  You may want to comment on Item 9 on the agenda – Adopt the Emerging Mobility Evaluation Report – ACTION*  resolutionenclosure  Including TNCs, on-demand, shared, ride-hails, autonomous vehicles, robots and drones – all those vehicles that are cluttering up the road that used to be full of our private vehicles. How many millions or billions of taxpayers dollars have gone into this failed system that was going to rid the city of cars?

Keep your letters going to the Board of Supervisors on this matter. We need to keep public funds out of the hands of these corporations that have informed us that they intend to take over our streets. Supervisor Cohen needs to hear from you as she is still supporting the Ford GoBikes, that are now the Lyft bikes. We also need to send a message to Supervisor Kim on that matter. NO MORE TAXPAYER FUNDS FOR CORPORATIONS. If they want to help low-income people they can do so with their own money.

RELATED:
Uber Poised to Make Investment in Lime Scooter-Rental Business

STOP THE CORPORATE TAKEOVER OF OUR STREETS.
Buy an electric scooter for #129 at Best Buy or a Moped for less than $400.

Privatization of our Streets

Multiple media stories over the last week prove that corporations plan to control our streets. They are fighting for them. What are we doing to keep them?

Lyft’s Big Bike-Share Buy Is About Ruling the Streets: https://metermadness.wordpress.com/2018/07/05/lyfts-big-bike-share-buy-is-about-ruling-the-streets/

The SFMTA has not done a great job of protecting our interest and may come under fire. Follow the action this week: https://cancalendar.wordpress.com/special-events/

Supervisors passed an Ordinance to help us. We need to ask for their help now.
Ordinance: https://metermadness.wordpress.com/actions/sfmta-review/  
Charter Amendment: https://metermadness.wordpress.com/actions/charter-amendment/

Stay in formed. Demand Respect. Support the candidates running for supervisor who will protect our city and our streets. Put SFMTA needs listen the voters, not their staff.