The battle over SF bus stops

By Sue Vaughan : 48hills – excerpt

As foes of the Google Bus deal take their case to court, a state bill would legalize the privatization of public bus stops

APRIL 24, 2015 — The crisis that has been disrupting San Francisco housing, and driving out the lower and middle classes for some years now, is moving to another piece of valuable real estate – public bus stops.

Private, for profit corporations have been salivating secretly over these stretches of curbside real estate with such intensity – and secrecy – that you might think there’s gold underneath the pavement.

Did you know, for instance, that on Monday, April 27, the California Assembly Transportation Committee will hear a bill, AB 61, that proposes to essentially give away public bus stops to some of the wealthiest, private, for-profit corporations that the world has ever known?
This giveaway has been ongoing for several years with the assistance of locally elected and appointed officials – but in violation of the California Vehicle Code… (moer)

Are Google Buses Already Legal? Yes and No

By Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez : sfweekly – excerpt

Disrupt the law, legalize later.

That’s the modus operandi of tech companies such as Airbnb and Uber, which innovate in ways old-fashioned laws often don’t address. It’s also seemingly the tactic used by the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency to justify its pilot program to legally allow corporate shuttles, like the infamous Google buses, to use Muni bus stops.

Except maybe Google bus illegality is more clear cut than initially thought. California’s state vehicle code right now specifically outlaws any bus from using public bus stops, save for school buses, according to a state lawmaker.

State Vehicle Code 22500(i) was explicitly called out by Assemblyman Travis Allen (R-Huntington Beach), who is seeking to change the law in favor of corporate shuttles. Allen introduced AB 61, which would change state vehicle code to allow local transit agencies (such as the SFMTA, which runs Muni) to grant permission for private entities to use municipal bus stops. The change would allow for even more Google bus-style shuttles to proliferate on city streets across the state.

But the bill’s existence raises an interesting question: Why seek to legalize something unless it is illegal? And if it’s illegal, then how are those corporate shuttles getting away with pulling over at Muni stops across San Francisco?… (more)

AB 61 – Assembly Member Travis Allen: is sponsoring a bill that many in San Francisco oppose. Read and decide for yourself:

Send comments and letters to the committee members:

State reps on the Senate Transportation and Housing Committees:

State Assembly Committee on Transportation:

More links are here.


Time marches on: Parking meters in political dispute

By John Howard :

Most people know little about parking meters except that they always run fast.
But those meters have figured in a political dispute this year pitting motorists against the cities, the cities against the state and the drivers against just about everybody. Gov. Brown, meanwhile, has weighed in on the side of the drivers.
At issue is what happens when a driver parks at a broken meter? How is the charge set? Does the motorist get a ticket, even though the elapsed time is unknown? Some drivers say they get gouged and they have no recourse. Some cities say the meters are deliberately broken so drivers will escape paying.
For the cities, the answer is simple: It’s up to them to decide…
The governor disagreed.
He signed legislation, AB 61 by Assemblyman Mike Gatto, D-Los Angeles, requiring the cities to have a uniform policy statewide. The new law takes effect Jan. 1 and will remain in effect for three years unless otherwise renewed by lawmakers. It allows a motorist to park in a space with a broken meter for up to the maximum amount of time set by parking enforcement officials, without getting a ticket… (more)