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.

Silicon Valley bus drivers sleep in parking lots. They may have to make way for development

By Wendy Lee : sfchronicle – excerpt

Recreational vehicles line a parking lot at the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority Cerone bus yard in San Jose. The transit agency lets some employees with long commutes sleep overnight in the lot.

On weekdays, bus driver Adan Miranda hauls people across Silicon Valley. But his own roughly 100-mile commute home to a Sacramento suburb nearly killed him, so 15 years ago he decided to start sleeping in a San Jose parking lot four nights a week.

It’s a choice that’s becoming more common for people who want to work in the Bay Area but can’t afford a place to live. What’s unusual about Miranda’s situation is that his parking space is provided by his employer, the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority. For 20 years, the agency has doled out permits to sleep on its property to employees who have homes 50 miles away or farther.

Now the quirky perk may be coming to an end. Its elimination places an ironic underscore on the region’s housing crisis: The bus drivers’ temporary bedsits may have to make way for permanent development… (more)

 

San Francisco Tour Bus Drivers Forced To Decide Between Driving, Narrating After New Rule Passes

cbslocal – excerpt

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — An ordinance prohibiting tour bus drivers from narrating while driving in San Francisco was unanimously approved by the San Francisco Board of Supervisors Tuesday, less than six months after a city hall employee was fatally struck by a tour bus outside City Hall…

San Francisco Supervisor Norman Yee, who authored the legislation, said that the ordinance would prohibit tour bus drivers from narrating while driving on public streets in San Francisco and allow those drivers to instead fully focus on driving.

Under the new ordinance, tour bus drivers who are caught narrating while driving will be cited… (more)

Strike called on Golden Gate Bridge bus lines for Oct. 17

By Kale Williams : sfgate – excerpt

Buses operated by the Golden Gate Transportation District will not be crossing the Bay Area’s most famous bridge next Friday as workers from the Teamsters Union Local 856 and 665, which represents dispatchers, supervisors and maintenance crews, announced a one-day strike.

The Amalgamated Transit Union, which represents drivers, is expected to honor the picket line, effectively canceling bus service between Marin, Sonoma and San Francisco for the day. Ferry service and bridge traffic will not be affected… (mari)

Facebook’s bus drivers push to unionize

By Kristen V. Brown : sfgate – excerpt

Some bus drivers who ferry Facebook employees to and from Silicon Valley want to unionize, saying they are underpaid, overworked and unfairly compensated for time on the job

The drivers enlisted the Teamsters, a powerful labor union, to pressure their employer, Loop Transportation, to allow them to organize.

The Teamsters are also putting pressure on Facebook, which contracts Loop Transportation to manage its shuttle operations. On Thursday, the top Teamsters official for Northern California sent a letter to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg urging him to throw the social network’s support behind a union for the drivers… (more)

Why Muni can’t find good drivers

By sfexaminer – excerpt

There’s a simple explanation for why buses and trains in San Francisco are often late or never show up.

There’s not enough people to drive them.

The San Francisco Municipal Railway has had a chronic shortage of qualified transit operators for several years, which contributes to late or missed runs as well as mounting overtime spending, according to city documents and interviews.

There are about 1,500 transit operators at Muni, which carries about 700,000 passengers a day on the agency’s buses, light-rail vehicles and cable cars.

There should be more.

As of Wednesday there were 266 unfilled operator positions, agency spokesman Paul Rose said, an “ongoing issue” that the SFMTA is trying to correct with a “training surge.”

Muni plans to add training staff and send operators through the training process more quickly, Rose said.

Last week, Muni graduated 25 new operators to full employee status. However, the hundreds of other open jobs have no takers for several reasons: pay, commuting and an ever-tougher working environment, according to interviews with drivers and union officials…

Muni drivers make more than their counterparts in Oakland and San Mateo County, but less than bus drivers in San Jose.

In any event, the starting wage of $18.60 is low by Bay Area standards — San Francisco’s minimum wage could be $15 by 2018 — and the $29.53 maximum hourly salary does not go far in The City…

At the end of May, Muni operators soundly rejected an offer from the SFMTA that would have seen hourly wages rise to over $32 an hour, which would make them the second-highest-paid transit operators in the country.

That offer was coupled with increased employee contributions to pensions, which would have led to a cut in take-home pay, union officials say…. (more)

AC Transit ordered to pay $15.3 million for speed bump snafu

By Malaika Fraley : Oakland Tribune – excerpt

OAKLAND — AC Transit has been ordered to pay $15.3 million to a Richmond woman and her daughter for back injuries the young mother suffered when a bus driver sped over a speed bump in San Pablo in 2011.

The verdict reached Tuesday by an Alameda County jury is the largest personal injury award against the transit system.

“We are still mulling over the verdict as it were and deciding what the steps may be,” AC Transit spokesman Clarence Johnson said, noting the transit agency had no other comment.

Maria Francisco was 20 years old and on her way to the Hilltop mall with her 4-year-old daughter on Aug. 27, 2011, when an AC Transit bus driven by Dollie Gilmore hit a speed bump going 30 mph in a 15 mph school zone on Church Lane.

Jurors saw video of a petite Francisco flying up and hitting her back on the edge of the plastic of the bus’s rear seating, followed by Gilmore accusing her of faking and threatening prosecution as she was crying out in pain… (more)

 

%d bloggers like this: