Lyft drops $100k against SF tax to fund housing for homeless

By Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez : sfexaminer – excerpt

Ride-hail giant Lyft just dropped $100,000 to fight Proposition C, the ballot measure that would tax rich corporations to house 4,000 homeless San Franciscans.

Yes, you heard that right: Lyft, not Uber, is pushing back against “Our City, Our Home” in a big way, On Guard has confirmed.

It’s perhaps strange for a company whose CEO bragged to TIME Magazine in 2017 that his company is “woke,” and especially odd since the often-vilified Uber, which has weathered myriad recent scandals, confirmed to On Guard they’re not planning on donating for or against Proposition C. The Company That Travis Built is sitting this one out.

Uber and Lyft both fall into the crosshairs of Prop. C, which would impose a tax on San Francisco companies with gross receipts topping $50 million…

A recent report by the San Francisco County Transportation Authority found Uber and Lyft contributed to half of all The City’s new traffic congestion, making potential legislation to curtail ride-hails locally a distinct possibility, Ross said… (more)

Social equity groups have joined affordable housing and anti-gentrification movements into a new push toward localism as many communities are finding themselves at odds with powerful state interests. The ride hails, as TNCS are sometimes referred to, are under the protection of the California Public Utilities Commission, (CPUC).

Ford/GoBikes/Motivate/Lyft stationed bike shares, Chariot, and tech buses are overplaying their hand and unless the public is completely asleep at the wheel already, the voters should pass Proposition C to retaliate against the corporate takeover of our streets, our homes and our jobs.

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Emerging Mobility in San Francisco

from the SFMCTA website: https://www.sfcta.org

Many new technologies and services have appeared on San Francisco’s streets over the past few years, from ride-hail companies, to scooter sharing, to on-demand delivery services.

This month, we released a new report evaluating how these services line up with issues like equity, sustainability, and safety. One major take-away: We found that companies that share data and partner with the City on pilots are better at helping meet City goals.

Learn more: Watch the video and read the report.


Let your supervisor know what you want to do about these corporate entities that are emerging on our streets? Do we want to lose your right to park at the curb? Do you trust the SFMTA to manage the corporations that are threatening to take over the streets?

Are these new jobs, working for Uber Lyft and the rest, any better than the old jobs they are displacing? Were the taxi drivers worse off then the rideshare drivers who are barely making a living wage? Who is benefiting and who is losing out as the SFMTA barrels through the city killing one retail entity after another with their “street improvement” projects?

What Happens When a Company That Sells Car Trips Gets Into the Bike Trip Business?

By Ben Fried : streetsblog – excerpt

Lyft has acquired the nation’s largest bike-share company, setting up a situation where its bike trip sales will cannibalize its car trip sales.

Lyft, Uber’s smaller but gigantic-in-its-own-right competitor in the ride-hailing business, has acquired Motivate, the company that runs several of the largest bike-share systems in America. The price isn’t public yet, but unconfirmed earlier reports pegged it at $250 million. The new entity is called “Lyft Bikes.”

Lyft gets Motivate’s “current engineering, technology, marketing, communications, legal and supply chain capabilities as well as some human resources and finance functions,” according to a spokesperson. Lyft says the terms of contracts with local governments, including agreements with New York, Chicago, San Francisco and other large cities granting varying degrees of exclusivity, will not be affected…

This is a matter of dispute, that may be cause for legal action.

The optimist sees huge potential in the nation’s largest bike-share operator getting an infusion of capital…

The acquisition by Lyft could change this dynamicMotivate has yet to show what it can do with the dockless and electric-assist bicycles it’s been developing

The announcement yesterday renews Motivate’s relevance, with Lyft explicitly mentioning “dockless and pedal-assist electric bikes” as the type of “innovation” it intends to expedite…

The pessimistic take on the deal is that Lyft’s core businessselling car trips in cities — will put a ceiling on what it will do as a bike-share company. ..

I doubt that Lyft will enthusiastically try to convert its car trips to bike trips without some sort of prompt from policy makers. Bike-share is a very low-margin business. … (more)

As the author points out, there are many directions the company may take, and, since the future of bike stations is uncertain there is no reason to expand the most controversial bike-share programs that infuriates the public.

As one of the North Beach patrons asked when the Central Subway was being presented as an extendable program, “How can you aim a tunnel when you don’t know where it is going to end up?” We need to stop installing bike stations and see what the market does.

This matter will be addressed Tuesday at the SFCTA Meeting. around 10 AM in Room 250 at City Hall.  You may want to comment on Item 9 on the agenda – Adopt the Emerging Mobility Evaluation Report – ACTION*  resolutionenclosure  Including TNCs, on-demand, shared, ride-hails, autonomous vehicles, robots and drones – all those vehicles that are cluttering up the road that used to be full of our private vehicles. How many millions or billions of taxpayers dollars have gone into this failed system that was going to rid the city of cars?

Keep your letters going to the Board of Supervisors on this matter. We need to keep public funds out of the hands of these corporations that have informed us that they intend to take over our streets. Supervisor Cohen needs to hear from you as she is still supporting the Ford GoBikes, that are now the Lyft bikes. We also need to send a message to Supervisor Kim on that matter. NO MORE TAXPAYER FUNDS FOR CORPORATIONS. If they want to help low-income people they can do so with their own money.

RELATED:
Uber Poised to Make Investment in Lime Scooter-Rental Business

STOP THE CORPORATE TAKEOVER OF OUR STREETS.
Buy an electric scooter for #129 at Best Buy or a Moped for less than $400.

Reviving SF’s taxi industry: The city is looking at solutions

By Michael Cabanatuan : sfchronicle – excerpt

San Francisco’s taxi industry, bludgeoned in recent years by Uber and Lyft, needs to catch up with the changing times to survive.

That’s the assessment of a pair of consultants whose report, released Wednesday, recommends that the Municipal Transportation Agency, which regulates the city’s taxi industry, work with cab companies to improve their service and reduce the number of taxis on the streets to match reduced demand but increase the number of cabs capable of carrying persons with disabilities.

What it doesn’t recommend, despite the wishes of taxi drivers, is what the city and the agency are not allowed to do: Regulate the transportation network companies, specifically Uber and Lyft, that have nearly decimated the taxi industry since their drivers arrived in San Francisco over the past decade.

That oversight falls to the state Public Utilities Commission, not the city…

“the MTA is really looking to get the right regulations in place so that the taxi industry can compete,” Toran said.

To accomplish that, the report recommends taxi companies become more customer-friendly by offering mobile-phone apps…

Those companies should also be released from current restraints that prohibit them from offering special or discounted rates …

To help boost interest in operating taxi vans to carry wheelchairs, an often time-consuming effort, the report recommends that drivers be offered up to $300 a month to help buy a van and the same amount per month to cover maintenance and operating costs… (more)

 

 

Sharks sue to slow BART San Jose extension in parking dispute

By Michael Cabanatuan : sfgate – excerpt

The San Jose Sharks, locked in an NHL playoff battle, unleashed a different kind of fight this week, filing a lawsuit to slow the BART extension to downtown San Jose until a dispute over parking can be resolved…

 

The suit comes a month after the VTA approved environmental studies for the BART extension through downtown San Jose to Santa Clara, and a week after BART agreed. Plans include a stop at Diridon Station, across Santa Clara Street from the arena, which hosts not only Sharks games but concerts and other events.

“We strongly support the BART project through downtown San Jose,” said Sharks President John Tortora in a statement. “However, we don’t think the current plan addresses several important issues for SAP Center, including a promise to ensure adequate parking in the Diridon area and a safe and accessible environment for our customers during construction.”… (more)

Report recommends SF slash available taxis to save industry

By Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez : sfexaminer – excerpt

NBTaxis

Taxis in North Beach by zrants

San Francisco may slash the number of available taxi medallions — which dictates the number of cabs — by one-third, in a bid to “reinvigorate” the industry.

That’s one of a number of major recommendations released Wednesday from a respected taxi-industry consultant commissioned by the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, which regulates taxis but not ride-hails like Uber and Lyft.

It’s those tech titans that have the taxi industry and SFMTA concerned, as the old guard of drivers-for-hire lose significant ground in nearly every respect: There are twelve times more ride-hail trips across The City than taxi trips, according to city data, including lucrative rides to and from the San Francisco International Airport. To revitalize the industry in 2017 the SFMTA commissioned taxi industry expert Bruce Schaller, principal of Schaller Consulting, to analyze trends in San Francisco — and recommend a way out.

“How does the MTA as a regulator help the taxi industry innovate and step up?” Kate Toran, head of taxi services at SFMTA, told reporters in a press briefing Wednesday. That, she said, is the crux of this report… (more)

California CPUC is to blame for the corporate takeover of our streets. We need new leadership at the CPUP.

Video by Spenser Michael, PBS NewsHours : KQED  – excerpt (video included)

This story ran in 2014.

Every weekday morning, dozens of sleek buses roll through the heart of San Francisco, picking up a cargo of workers commuting south to companies like Google, Facebook and Apple. But critics say the buses are clogging city bus stops and are symbolic of the disparity in wealth between the new tech workers and the long-time working class residents… (more)

Matters have gone from bad to worse. The SFMTA turned public parking spaces over to the buses and now we dealing with more buses and TNCs. As the street parking disappears a new parking need arises for delivery services.

Nothing the state, county, city agencies have done with the millions of dollars in federal, state, regional, county, or city taxes, fines and fees, has put a dent in the traffic problem.

California citizens all over the state are calling for a halt in the failed projects until major changes are enacted to stop the flawed plans that are not working.

RELATED: National coverage has been building on this subject for years.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zs7N0023ziw

Fast forward to 2018:

We now know a lot more about the “healthy economy” and it is unhealthy for most people.

California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) does not work for the public. At their last meeting they determined that because they are spending less money than anticipated on enforcement, the fees should be lowered on the Transportation Network Companies (TNCs) they are supposed to regulate.

Cities have no way to combat this agency. The only thing they regulate is the routes and the stops.

This is a perfect example of why we need to stop the state from usurping power from local governments. As the state legislature gives itself the right to regulate land use and traffic laws though such bills as Wiener’s SB-827 and 828, neighborhoods are being turned into futuristic holding cells for transients out to make a fast buck. They better grab fast, because they are killing the golden goose. Cities are crumbling under the weight of expectations and unrealistic priorities.

California has a number of regulatory agencies that make the rules and enforce them at their own discretion. There is no separation of powers here. San Francisco’s Municipal Transit Authority has a similar problem. Too much power and too much money has a bad influence on performance. The process does not work for the public. It works for the corporations and their lobbyists who control the agencies.

Because over 2% of the corporate bus trips cross into other local jurisdictions, they are regulated by the state. This encourages more regional traffic, not less, as TNCs scramble to grab those rides.

Uber’s new CEO admitted that his company is in competition with Muni and wants to run the city bus programs. We need  new cop in town and City Hall who can work some magic in Sacramento by taking back local control.

As it stands now the only thing the voters can do is stop the flow of money into the coffers of the agencies until City Halls get the message that the plan is flawed and the citizens are not going to take it anymore. The next tax on the ballot for transportation will be the regional RM3 bill that would increase bridge tolls to pay for more of same.

Fighting back means replacing people who are responsible for this untenable situation, and have not learned by their mistakes. It is one thing to posit an idea that doesn’t work. It is another to pretend like the world is your oyster when millions of people are suffering because of a flawed plan based on false assumptions.

We now know that algorithms can be manipulated thanks to Donald Trump and the Mueller investigation that uncovered massive manipulations by facebook algorithms. Next time someone tells you they based a zoning plan or a traffic pattern future project on an algorithm run for the nearest exit. Computer models are only as good as the input. When there are no recent studies based on current conditions, the computer models are flawed and the algorithms meaningless.

There is a new kid on the block intent on fighting back with renewed public outreach. http://brokenheartsf.com is taking on the buses that are ravaging the Noe Valley neighborhood. See the recent action at the last stop at 29th and San Jose. Marvel at the chutzpah of the huge empty buses as they head for the 280 freeway.

State legislators need to take control the CPUC just as our Supervisors need to control the SFMTA. Let them know how you feel.

 

 

Expanded Uber Express Pool option: Walk a bit, ride for less

By Carolyn Said : sfchronicle – excerpt

Uber is expanding Pool, its shared-ride option, offering passengers the chance to save money if they wait a few minutes and walk a few blocks for a ride.

The company has run a pilot of the new program, called Uber Express Pool, in San Francisco and Boston since November. This week it will add six cities: Los Angeles, Miami, Philadelphia, San Diego, Denver and Washington, D.C.

“Regular” Uber Pool, which the company has offered since mid-2014 and which now exists in 36 cities, lowers prices by letting multiple passengers split costs on a ride, like a form of carpooling. But Ethan Stock, an Uber product manager, acknowledged in a press call Tuesday that passengers get frustrated if their cars drive in circles to pick up and drop off others — and that such an approach is not the most efficient.

Express Pool takes a more streamlined approach, with some of the extra effort coming from passengers on foot so the cars can follow a straighter route.

People requesting an Uber ride will see the options of Express Pool, regular Pool and UberX, and the associated prices and estimated arrival times for each. Those who select Express Pool will be asked to wait a few minutes to increase the odds of finding compatible passenger matches, and then to walk one or two blocks to be picked up. Likewise, at the end of the ride, passengers may have to walk a couple of blocks to their destination… (more)

Uber completes with Muni. What doesn’t ?

RELATED:

Uber Express Pool offers the cheapest fares yet in exchange for a little walking

Uber officially launches Uber Express POOL, a new twist on shared rides

Uber Express Pool is like a minibus with cheaper rides

 

Luxor Cab sold to competitor, will merge into consolidated Yellow Cab company

By Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez : sfexminer – excerpt

Another major taxi company has been sold in The City, and will soon become part of a taxi consolidation that hopes to boost the industry citywide.

Formed in 1928, Luxor Cab Co. was officially enshrined in San Francisco’s historical lexicon as a legacy business in 2016. Now, one of its competitors, Citywide Taxi, is in the process of purchasing the assets of the historic company in a bid to reclaim some of the business lost to tech rivals Uber and Lyft, leadership at both companies confirmed to the San Francisco Examiner…

The merger would solidify Yellow Cab’s position as the largest taxi company in San Francisco. The next largest competitor, Flywheel Taxi, has a fleet of 239 cabs, according to the SFMTA.

(more)

The history of taxis in San Francisco should make for interesting reading someday. We need to see a complete review and history of the disastrous medallion program, including, who suggested it, who promoted to it, and who approved it.

SFMTA Delays Traffic Diversion Plans For 8th Avenue ‘Neighborway’

by Lauren Alpert : hoodline – excerpt

On Wednesday evening, Supervisor Sandra Lee Fewer and SFMTA hosted a community meeting to discuss a traffic-calming plan that would divert traffic away from 8th Avenue.

While the plan originated with SFMTA initiatives and gathered feedback from neighbors, some residents have expressed concerns about traffic being shunted to adjoining streets.

Officials from the transportation agency say the proposed 8th Avenue “neighborway” would create a “safe, pleasant north-south route” for pedestrians and cyclists, noting that the street “carries 2 to 3 times the amount of vehicle traffic when compared to parallel routes.”… (more)

Good news. This is strike two for neighbors since the Supervisors threatened with a Charter Amendment and Ordinance to reign them in. So far the only consistent problems are coming from SFPark’s Corporate dealings. In spite of massive efforts by environmental groups supporting neighborhoods, the corporate mobsters are gaining public ground (literally).