1,000 Parking Spaces To Be Reserved For Car-Sharing Services

by Fiona Lee: hoodline – excerpt

Last week, SFMTA’s Board of Directors approved a full permit program for car-sharing companies after a 2013 pilot that allowed companies to use 200 public parking spaces.

Under the plan, 1,000 parking spots will be converted into car-sharing spaces.

“Each permitted parking space served many people, rather than just one private vehicle at a time,” wrote SFMTA in its report. It also revealed that a car could be used by as many as 19 people if it was part of a car-sharing service, compared to a private car, which usually only has two users…

During public comment, some residents opposed the move.

“This policy basically gives public parking spaces, the gray spaces that everybody uses,” said Patrick Mayley, who felt that the car-share companies should use private lots. “We’re essentially looking at giving public spaces away to large private corporations…This is not an example to me of sharing.”…(more)

This is wrong on so many levels. The public was not warned about this program. Pieces of it were sprung on us at a series of SFMTA Board meetings where the details were confusing and difficult to understand or comment on.

More members of the public would have expressed opposition if the public knew about the hearings. This article doesn’t mention the Scoot program, that was set up to allow the private Scoot rental company a special deal for their scooters that is not extended to all scooter rental companies. SFMTA is picking winners. Scoot is a winner. So were Uber and Lyft before they became a problem. City authorities should put a stop to these special deals that SFMTA is cutting with preferred corporations.

We have been warning about privatization of public property for some time. This is the corporate takeover of our streets, or the selling of our streets by the SFMTA. If you disapprove of this, now is the time to let the supervisors know. They can do something to stop this selling of our streets if enough people complain. You may also want to consider boycotting the corporations that are taking over our streets. If there is no demand for their services, they may rethink their position.

Why own a car when you can share one?

Living car-free or car-light in San Francisco is increasingly easy — and it’s not just thanks to Uber.

Car sharing is quietly spreading throughout the city, allowing people to rent cars by the hour or mile, pick them up at widely dispersed locations, reserve them with a smartphone, and unlock them with a phone or credit card.

“Technological advances are giving people new and convenient ways to get around more freely without having to own a car,” said CalPIRG spokeswoman Diane Forte, whose consumer group recently released a report on the growth of high-tech transportation options nationwide. It found that San Francisco is a national leader in innovative ways to get around town, second only to Austin, Texas.

To support car sharing — and try to reduce car use — San Francisco is experimenting with reserving up to 900 on-street parking spaces sprinkled throughout the city for the exclusive use of car-sharing vehicles. The three companies getting spaces over the two-year pilot program, which is being phased in slowly, are City CarShare, a nonprofit; Avis’ Zipcar, perhaps the best-known service; and Getaround, a “peer-to-peer” service that helps regular people rent their cars to others… (more)

Uber e-mails reflect company’s brash reputation

By Carol Said : sfgate – excerpt – (includes exhibits and videos)


Uber reps pose with MADD on the steps on SF City Hall while state judge rules Uber emails are admissible and release them to the public. Uber says they plan to donate $1 to MADD for every person who types in the promo code “Think and Ride.”

Uber’s brash reputation evidently extends to the way its managers talk about drivers. In forceful and sometimes crudely derisive language, Uber bosses discussed when to fire drivers for the on-demand ride service, according to internal company reports and e-mails.

Uber was compelled to produce the documents as evidence for a class-action lawsuit by California drivers seeking to be considered Uber employees rather than independent contractors. The company sought to have them kept under seal but a federal judge ordered them made public. The judge heard arguments Friday about whether the case should be dismissed, but made no ruling.

The documents illuminate a sometimes-contemptuous culture that would make a human resources manager cringe…

A win by the drivers could seriously affect Uber and Lyft’s bottom lines. The companies could be obligated to pay drivers’ operating expenses such as gas and vehicle maintenance. The Uber lawsuit’s lead plaintiff told Reuters that his annual expenses topped $10,000. The companies could also be on the hook for Social Security, workers’ compensation and unemployment insurance. As of December, Uber had more than 160,000 active U.S. drivers in 161 cities, it said in a report this month. Lyft, which is in 60 cities, has not released its driver numbers.

“They think they’ve come up with a brilliant new model by which they can shift onto workers all the expenses of having a business,” Liss-Riordan said. “California law doesn’t allow them to do that.”…

In Thursday’s hearing on the Lyft drivers’ case, U.S. District Judge Vincent Chhabria said that California law appears to favor the drivers’ contention that they are employees, according to Reuters, but he didn’t issue a ruling… (more)

Ride Share riders and companies oppose AB 612 and AB 2293 which seek to deal with insurance issues. video on CBS channel 13.

Does carsharing really reduce overall driving?

: sfbg – excerpt

At the Share conference that I covered for this week’s Guardian, there were wildly divergent claims for how many vehicles carsharing companies such as City Car Share, Zipcar, and Getaround take off the road. I was also a little skeptical of claims that carsharing dramatically reduces overall driving and greenhouse gas emissions, so I decided to take a deeper look at the issue.

“For every car that is shared, we take seven cars off the road,” Board of Supervisors President David Chiu said during his presentation. The next day Getaround founder and spokesperson Jessica Scorpio cited a study claiming that 32 cars get taken off the road for every shared vehicle.

Luckily, one of the country’s top researchers in this area is right in our backyard. UC Berkeley civil and environmental engineering professor Susan Shaheen heads the school’s Transportation Sustainability Research Center and has been doing peer-reviewed studies on car-sharing for almost 20 years.

Her research, which is consistent with the body of academic research on carsharing from around the world, has found that each shared car takes between nine and 13 other cars off the road, figures that she says are amazingly consistent around the world. That big reduction is because households that have cars tend to get rid of at least one of them when they sign up for carsharing, while car-free households that want access to a car will choose (as Shaheen says is the case for about 25 percent of the people in each group, which adds up to 90,000-130,000 fewer cars on the road nationwide)… 

So as carsharing and ridesharing companies seeks to bolster their claims to being an unqualified benefit for society, those companies should be willing to share detailed usage data with Shaheen and other independent researchers, which will help us all move beyond the hype to make informed public policy decisions.

“This is important,” Shaheen told us. “I take this very seriously because I want these to be numbers that policymakers can use.” … (more)

SFMTA to Pilot one-way Car Sharing

by : evnewsreport.com – excerpt

The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) clarified their position on car sharing.  Paul Rose, the spokesman for the SFMTA, stated that they are planning to do a pilot with “one-way” car sharing, but he did not say whether this pilot would involve Smart Electrics.  The SFMTA has parking concerns with one-way car sharing.  The term one-way refers to Car2Go’s convenience car sharing model that allows the driver to leave the vehicle in a legal parking spot anywhere within the company’s local service area.
This one-way model is a differentiator for Car2Go.  It turns car sharing into a quasi-self-serve taxi service.  Instead of waiting around for a taxi, Car2Go members can be their own taxi service, by simply hopping in any available Car2Go Smart Car and leaving it at their destination for any other member to utilize.  The idea makes so much sense that I suspect that the SFMTA will have to adapt to the model in some respects.  Obviously, there is going to be some problems with street cleaning, peak hour lane restrictions, and other parking issues that need to be addressed.
Paul Rose expressed that the MTA is not opposed to car sharing and that the MTA sees car sharing as being one part in a sustainable transportation system.  In an ideal world, the MTA would prefer more people taking public transportation to avoid congestion issues altogether.  However, sometimes a car is simply more convenient for life’s daily adventures, and convenience is a luxury that human beings will always desire.  Hence, there is the one-way car sharing company, Car2Go… (more)

Car Sharing Widens the Lanes of Access for City Drivers

Josie Garthwaite : National Geographic News

Behind Valencia Street’s widened sidewalks and bike lanes, San Francisco has another tool ready to cut traffic and transit crowding. Nestled in the neighborhoods surrounding this longtime transportation corridor are hundreds of parked cars—available for sharing.
Brian Scates, creative director at a Silicon Valley startup, rented out his 2000 Audi All-Road last year for $50 to $60 a day, rather than let it sit unused while he biked around town and commuted to work by train. Meanwhile, Sebastien Rouif throws his surfboard into the back of his neighbor’s pickup truck on Saturdays to drive down the coast and catch some waves. The fee and gas total about $40, cheaper than other rental options—and it’s a lot less expensive than owning a car…
Scates has since cut back on sharing his car, but still believes in the idea: “I’m all about fewer cars on the road, and maximizing the value that we get out of those vehicles.”… (more)

Second Life for Old Electric-Car Batteries: Guardians of the Electric Grid

SFMTA Plans Major Expansion of On-Street Car-Share Parking Spaces

by Aaron Bialick : sf.streetsblog.org – excerpt

Curbside parking spaces reserved for car-share vehicles could become much more widespread in San Francisco under a proposed expansion of the Municipal Transportation Agency’s on-street car-share pilot program early next year…
The SFMTA estimates that every car-sharing vehicle replaces up to 15 privately-owned cars. During the first pilot, residents in some neighborhoods opposed converting street parking to car-sharing spots, since they saw it as a reduction in available car parking. Reiskin said the agency plans to use data to make the case for converting future spots and win over skeptics…
SFMTA planners also aim to increase awareness and visibility of the service to “seed demand” in neighborhoods which, according to City CarShare, currently have very little car-share demand(more)

Is this legal? Is this what the voters anticipated the SFMTA  to do when they voted to merge the various organizations to “Fix the Muni” and “balance the Muni Budget”?

Is this an example of a government entity picking winners  and promoting a private corporation at the expense of the general public?
Is this how the Federal Government plans to sell new EV and clean tech vehicles made-in-America? By punishing car owners who live in cities?

What is wrong with this picture?

SFMTA makes room for Shared Cars

SF car sharing revs up but hits bumps

By Michael Cabanatuan : SFGate – excerpt

In San Francisco’s quest to cut down on private car travel, car sharing is becoming increasingly important – and popular. While San Francisco may be a transit-first city, taking Muni or BART isn’t always a viable option. Sometimes hauling groceries, making a trip to Ikea or just getting across the city quickly requires a car, even for people who don’t want to own one…
But as car sharing’s popularity grows, problems are emerging, including car sharing’s failure to serve some neighborhoods, and whether vehicles used for car sharing should be allowed to use on-street parking spaces… (more)

A bumpy road for San Francisco’s car-sharing programs