Chariot adds commute routes for UCSF employees, with public funding

 : sfchronicle – excerpt

San Francisco commuter van operator Chariot has started a shuttle service for UCSF Mission Bay employees who commute from the East Bay. It’s the first such service funded by a public transit agency, and it aims to ease congestion on the Bay Bridge.

UCSF, one of the Bay Area’s largest employers, received a $750,000 grant from the Metropolitan Transportation Commission, which oversees regional transportation planning, to coax its workers into fewer cars. As part of the initiative, UCSF tapped Chariot, a subsidiary of Ford Smart Mobility, to operate two weekday shuttle routes between Emeryville and West Oakland and UCSF’s Mission Bay campus during the morning and evening commutes. The service began June 18 with eight Chariot vans, each carrying up to 14 passengers.The service will run for one year as part of a broader MTC initiative called “Bay Bridge Forward,” which is funneling $40 million to improve bus lines, parking lots and ferry routes. Most of the money is going to public transit operators, but a small slice is going to UCSF and Kaiser Permanente. Kaiser, headquartered in Oakland, received $150,000 to manage its workers’ commuting and parking patterns.

Chariot and UCSF officials said they don’t know how many employees will use the service. About 6,000 of UCSF’s 25,000 employees work at Mission Bay, and more than a quarter are estimated to live in the East Bay. The cost to UCSF employees for the new Chariot routes is $7.50 per ride.

“We want to help our employees get to work each day, while also easing traffic heading into the city,” Erick Villalobos, UCSF’s director of transportation services, said in a statement… (more)

We are speechless. This is how the public transit agencies spend taxpayer dollars? We pay for UCSF employees to ride in comfort for $7.50 a day, while commuters pay higher bridge tolls and parking fees. How is this fair? No sooner has the ink dried on the RM3 election, than the public fund get siphoned off to corporate sponsors of the bill. Voters should retaliate by repealing the gas tax.

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The other side of the toll hike story

By Dave Price : padailypost – excerpt

Night-Bridge

Bay bridge at sunset photo by zrants

There are two sides to every story, and there’s another side to the story about the proposed 60% toll hike on seven of the bridges that cross the Bay.

What’s come out in the press so far is that the increase will pay for “three-dozen much-needed regional public transportation and roadway improvement” projects, as the Chronicle put it in a news story. The italics are mine.

That’s the spin: Give us more of your money for these much-needed projects and we’ll reduce traffic.

But it never seems to happen. We have one of these transportation measures on the ballot every year or two, and the traffic keeps getting worse. The money is shifted to mass-transit projects like BART while little or no capacity is added to the freeways. Mass transit doesn’t work for most people (less than 1% of residents use Caltrain regularly) and carpooling and carpool lanes have been a flop.

As a result, it gets longer and longer to get from one point to another. And the people who use those congested highways to get to work are asked to shell out more, not the fat cats like the tech companies.

Highways get short-changed

In the case of the toll hike, called Regional Measure 3 on the June ballot, just 22% of the $4.5 billion raised will be devoted to highway improvements, with most of that going to the East Bay. In the mid-Peninsula, a mere $50 million will be earmarked for highways — money to fund a fraction of the cost to rebuild the Highway 101-92 interchange in San Mateo.

Oh, I forgot to mention that there is $300 million on the spending list to give us toll lanes on our freeways, where a lane that could be devoted to free-flowing traffic will be restricted to carpoolers or those willing to pay a toll that will be electronically collected using Fastrak type devices. Toll lanes make people pay twice for their roads.
If you put toll lanes into the category of highway improvements, then the percentage of the toll hike going to highways increases to 28.6%. But I don’t see toll lanes as an improvement…

It just doesn’t stop. And they’ll keep putting these increases on the ballot as long as voters keep saying “yes.” It’s time to say “no.”.. (more)

Lot’s of reasons to oppose RM3. One of them is the big money being thrown at it.

Big business funds campaign to convince voters to raise tolls

Lot’s of reasons to oppose RM3. One of them is the big money being thrown at it.
Why don’t the tech titans who are paying millions of dollars to pass RM3 and other pro-developer pro-growth bills just pay for the projects they support instead of turning it into political currency? Vote NO on RM3. Keep controls in the hands of the taxpaying public.

May Day Media Headline Blitz

Today marks the beginning of a tense month in California politics as we line up to vote on a lot of issues that may effect the social fabric of our state. We will touch on the media headlines regarding the two major ballot initiatives that are in the news us today.

The SB-1 Gas Tax Repeal: for the November Ballot
Conservatives Turn in 940,000 Signatures for Anti-Gas Tax Initiative
California gas tax repeal heading for the November ballot, campaign says

Regional Measure 3 – A Bridge Toll increases and changes in the voter approval process for future bridge toll decisions:
Voters to Decide on Toll Increases for Bay Area Bridges  Bay Area voters in June will have the opportunity to decide whether they want to pay another dollar in tolls on seven bridges starting next year, according to the San Francisco County Transportation Authority… (more)

We have to take exception to this statement. This bill does not add another dollar it adds at least $3.00. This is an example of how the media is being used to sell lies to the public. But the public is on high alert for FAKE NEWS so they are a lot less gullible than they were during previous election cycles.

Beyond cost of living increases, RM3 authorizes the Bay Area Toll Authority to increase tolls above $3 without consulting the electorate, if deemed necessary to service BATA’s huge debt.The law makes the agency’s first commitment to its creditors.) 

To understand RM3, its opponents considered what it would fund as well as how the funds will be raised. They are promising projects to all the counties in the hopes of convincing enough people to support the bill, NBC is labeling a $1 bridge toll increase.

One of the promises made to San Mateo commuters is that their share of the funds would be used to create express toll lanes on 101 from San Francisco to Mateo County, I-680 and other highways in the region. This does little for commuters, while it adds more to the coffers of the MTC. Will the voters see this?

 

 

Proposal for $9 tolls on Bay Bridge, $8 on other bridges gets big boost

By Lizzie Johnson : sfgate – excerpt

Night-Bridge

Sunset cruise on the Bay Bridge photo by zrants

A measure to raise Bay Area bridge tolls to $9 on the Bay Bridge and $8 on others over several years took a major step forward Wednesday when a key transportation committee unanimously recommended putting it before voters in June…

But to get before voters, the recommendation will need approval from the full Bay Area Toll Authority, which usually follows the committee’s lead. A vote is expect Jan. 24.

If the authority gives the measure the go-ahead, the Board of Supervisors in each of the nine affected counties will make the final vote to place it on each county’s ballot for June 5 as Regional Measure 3. If it passes, the toll hikes will affect only drivers on the Bay Area’s seven state-owned bridges. The Golden Gate Bridge would be excluded. Commuters who cross two bridges to get to their destination would receive a 50 percent discount on their second crossing if they have a FasTrak pass…

The measure also includes a proposal to create an inspector general whose job would be to examine BART finances and operations…(more)

Good to know that they will use the increase in bridge funds to hire another high-paid consultant. That sounds like a winning strategy for workers who are paying an average of 40% of their shrinking incomes on housing. I’m sure they will jump at the prospect of paying higher bridge tolls.

 

Congressman denounces Bay Area toll hike for transit

By Matier & Ross : sfchronicle – excerpt

Night-Bridge

Twilight on the Bay Bridge photo by zrants

East Bay Rep. Mark DeSaulnier has been back home and getting an earful about the situation in Washington — but it was the proposed ballot measure to raise tolls on the state’s Bay Area bridges to help fund transit projects that got his blood boiling…

The measure — which would raise tolls by $2 to $3 — is being put together by a collection of Bay Area legislators. It’s expected to generate about $125 million for a slew of road and mass transit improvements throughout the nine-county region…

DeSaulnier is not alone. State Sen. Steve Glazer, D-Orinda, is raising questions about how the money would be spent, as is Assemblywoman Catharine Baker, R-San Ramon.

Other East Bay officials, whose constituents would pay the bulk of the toll increase, have said they’ll support the measure only if more projects are added to the goody list in Alameda and Contra Costa counties…(more)

Why not move the jobs to the housing? Would that not be a cheaper less painful solution for the folks living in the suburbs? With so many creative ideas coming out of Sacramento you would think they could figure that one out. Why not just spread the wealth and political power? Cut their commutes and commute traffic around the coast cities at the same time. After the floods in the Gulf coast you might want to think twice about building huge cities at sea level.

GG Bridge Toll Hikes Approved 15-2, Supes Campos and Breed Opposed

by streetsblog – excerpt

When the plan for much-needed toll hikes on the Golden Gate Bridge was approved Friday, the only opponents on the GG Bridge Highway and Transportation District Board of Directors were Supervisors David Campos and London Breed.

All other 15 members who voted, including Marin County reps, apparently understood the need to fund rising infrastructure costs for the bridge by increasing tolls for the drivers who use it. In recent years, the board tolls have not risen as quickly as fares for Golden Gate Transit, which has also seen service cuts — a pattern that unfairly burdens bus riders and induces more car traffic on the Golden Gate Bridge…

Under the plan approved by the bridge district, the $6 toll will rise to $7 on April 7 on its way to $8 by 2018. A 25-cent increase will go in place on July 1, 2015, with a similar boost each year until 2018, according to the Chronicle. The bridge board increased tolls beyond its original proposal, which didn’t include an increase in 2015. By adding a 25-cent hike in 2015, projected revenue was increased from $123 million to $138 million… (more)