Dear Friends and Allies,
The SFMTA is holding a meeting on December 12, 2017 from 6-7:30 p.m. at 1 South Van Ness in the 2nd Floor Atrium to discuss criteria to be used to determine whether a private transportation route duplicates Muni service. Please consider attending. If you cannot attend, please share your thoughts on this matter with Philip Cranna at Philip.Cranna@sfmta.com.
As you may know, on October 17, 2017, the SFMTA Board of Directors passed legislation to regulate private transportation routes. There is only one such service in the city now, Ford-owned Chariot, but others may try to get into the market. Here is another link to additional legislation related to the matter.
Sometime in the new year, the matter will go to the Board of Supervisors. No permits can be issued to companies wishing to do business in San Francisco until the Board of Supervisors passes legislation creating an infraction — operating without a permit. The legislation has already been introduced. Until that time, Chariot is unregulated with the exception of whatever tickets it gets for breaking the rules of the road. In fact, its business model appears to be based largely on breaking the law — double parking to pick up and drop off passengers, operating in public bus zones in violation of California Vehicle Code 22500 (i), stopping in crosswalks, and operating on weight restricted streets. See the attached photographs.
We must expand our mass transit in order to combat climate change. According to the 2009 Peak Oil Preparedness Task Force report, Muni, BART, and Caltrain combined used only 2 percent of all the energy used in San Francisco at that time, although energy expended on transportation has made up more than 40 percent of total energy that we use in San Francisco for years. If we could offer people more mass transit options, we could make a serious dent in our city’s carbon footprint.
But do we want our expanded mass transit to be run by private, for-profit companies? Or do we want a public system?
The matter of private transportation vehicles and companies is an existential one for Muni. Just as Muni is moving to clean air vehicles, new private, for-profit options are appearing that are competing with Muni for customers and interfering with Muni’s operations on city streets. San Francisco’s Muni buses are already being forced to compete for curb space with private, for-profit Google shuttle buses — in violation of the same California Vehicle Code that prohibits Chariot vehicles from operating in public bus stops (and local government does NOT get to pass laws that preempt state law!).
Yet the PTV legislation passed by the Board of Directors on October 17 sets no limits on the number of private transportation vehicles or PTV companies that can apply for permits. Additionally, the legislation passed by the Board of Directors allows private transportation vehicles to be 25-feet in length (larger than the current Chariot vehicles), or 30 feet with bicycle racks. The Staff Report accompanying the legislation also says that PTV companies will be able to apply for white zones once permitted.
The meeting on Tuesday, December 12 is about how to define duplication of Muni routes.
I hope to see you there. Below is the announcement.