Uber And Lyft Are Making Traffic Worse While Claiming To Fix It

By Michael Hobbes : huffingtonpost – excerpt

The ride-hailing companies want you to think they’re reducing congestion and promoting public transit. Their actions tell a different story.

For years now, Uber and Lyft have argued that their business model provides a way for cities to augment public transport, reduce car ownership and beat traffic congestion.

In 2015, Uber co-founder and then-CEO Travis Kalanick told a room of CEOs that he envisioned “a world where there’s no more traffic in Boston in five years.” The co-founder of Lyft, John Zimmer, predicted in 2016 that private car ownership “will all-but end in major U.S. cities” by 2025. “If Lyft Line were to be applied to all single occupancy taxi trips,” Zimmer and his co-founder, Logan Green, wrote in 2017, “it would reduce the number of vehicles needed by 75 percent.” They called their post “The End of Traffic.”

But these utopian visions have yet to square with reality. Since 2015, studies have consistently found that ride-sharing is associated with more driving, less public transit use and worsening congestion. Car traffic and ownership rates are still rising and, according to a study earlier this year, up to 60 percent of Uber and Lyft rides replace walking, biking, buses and trains — transportation modes that didn’t add cars to the roads. Just this month, the San Francisco County Transportation Authority concluded that ride-sharing accounted for roughly half of the 37 extra minutes San Franciscans spend sitting in traffic every day compared to 2010…

A study by the San Francisco County Transportation Authority concluded that ride-hailing accounted for roughly half the increase in congestion between 2010 and 2016.

(more)

What does it take to change situation that is well-documented by a number of studies? We are told the California PUC is responsible for removing local government control over the TNCs, Google buses and other non-public transportation business models that we are causing the major traffic problems and putting our public transportation systems at a disadvantage? Maybe the solution is to change the CPUC. Ask the governor wannabes how they will do this.

 

Advertisements

San Francisco Supervisor Wants Tax On Uber And Lyft

By Susie Steimle : cbslocal – excerpt (including video)

SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX 5) — Ride-hailing companies could be forced to pay up if one San Francisco supervisor who says he’s tired of Uber and Lyft not contributing their fair share gets his way.

San Francisco Supervisor Aaron Peskin says the time for complacency toward these companies is over. Peskin is calling state lawmakers complicit and says lobbyists have influenced California for far too long…

On Tuesday Peskin called on state lawmakers to turn the reigns over to cities when it comes to regulating rideshare. Next week he plans to introduce a city ballot measure for November that would allow San Francisco to tax Uber and Lyft… (more)

We suggest looking at the individuals at the CPUC who are caving to the TNCS. Who appointed them and where do they get their authority? Also consider why people are taking these rides to begin with. What did the SFMTA think people would do when they made car ownership and parking so difficult and cut Muni services and stops and killed the taxi industry? Fix those problems and the Uber Lyfts will be less popular.

Oh, and the new CEO of Uber stated it is his company’s intention of taking over municipal transportation. So they are directly competing with Muni How many residents are competing with Muni?

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.

 

 

Flywheel Taxi sues state, says cities should regulate Uber, Lyft

By Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez : sfexaminer – excerpt

Flywheel Taxi has filed suit against state regulators, claiming the taxi industry is regulated unequally compared to its new technology cousins like Uber and Lyft.

The suit was filed U.S. District Court of Northern California on Sept. 23, but announced by litigant Flywheel Taxi late Friday.

“The fact is, I cannot compete against a company that plays by another set of rules,” said Hansu Kim, president of Flywheel Taxi.

Taxis and ride-hail apps like Uber play by two sets of standards, the suit argues. Taxis must have robust vehicle inspections, video surveillance to protect passengers, Department of Justice criminal background checks, in-person training, restrict vehicle carbon emissions, restrict vehicle mileage, be fully insured, and more.

But Uber and Lyft, by contrast, do not need to meet those same strict standards, the suit argues. Notably, Kim said, the taxi industry has taken on financial losses in the face of stiff competition from Uber, and Lyft.

Those technology companies are legally known as Transportation Network Companies, and are regulated by the California Public Utilities Commission, the regulator targeted by the suit.

The CPUC said it hadn’t yet seen the suit, and therefore could not yet comment. Uber and Lyft did not immediately return requests for comment.

Flywheel Taxi’s suit argues the uneven playing field between the old and new for-hire transit companies is a violation of equal protection under the Fourteenth Amendment.

It also claims those rules differ because two sets of regulators — cities and the state — regulate taxis and for-hire apps. The CPUC, a state entity, regulates Uber and Lyft. But city agencies across California, like the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency regulate taxis.

“I’m all for the market determine the best service, but this is an unfair playing field,” Kim said… (more)

Leap Transit Forced to Cease Operations by State

By : sfweekly – excerpt
Leap Transit, the private bus line that operates a luxury alternative to Muni between the Financial District and the Marina, has halted operations after receiving a cease and desist letter from the California Public Utilities Commission.

In a post on its Facebook page published last night, the company announced, “Leap will be offline at least through the end of this week as we work through a regulatory issue.” The statement chalks up the problems to “various clerical issues”:…

But the actual cease and desist order from the CPUC (embedded below) suggests that the problem is more serious. The letter, dated May 11, states the Leap has failed to provide proof of liability insurance and workers’ compensation insurance and “evidence of compliance with the controlled substances and alcohol testing requirements.” According to the letter, Leap has also not complied with certain “safety requirements prior to operation,” including inspections by the California Highway Patrol.

Leap has faced pretty much constant criticism since it launched earlier this spring. The private buses are not all wheelchair accessible, and the Chronicle reported that the company had actually removed wheelchair accessibility in order to install bar seating. The Chronicle has also detailed how the company has sought to “game” the regulatory system by seeking licensing from the state instead of more stringent local bodies. Looks like that bet is no longer paying off… (more)

Attorney for Sofia Liu family attacks new rules for app-based ride services

By sfexaminer – excerpt

The attorney for the family of 6-year-old Sofia Liu, who was fatally struck by an Uber driver on New Year’s Eve in San Francisco, expressed strong opposition Wednesday to newly amended rules for such app-based ride services, calling for a rejection of the proposed decision.

The California Public Utilities Commission previously recommended that Uber, Lyft and similar services have $1 million in coverage during the times when their apps are in operation. On Tuesday, however, Commissioner Michael Peevey cut the required coverage by 90 percent to $100,000.

Liu family attorney Christopher Dolan called the amendment a “corporate Christmas present for Uber and Lyft giving them the ability to rake in huge profits while leaving Californians to pick up the tab when their drivers cause injury and death.”… (more)

Honking Cab Drivers Demand San Francisco Ban On Ridesharing Services

by Sasha Lekach, : sfappeal – excerpt

With horns blaring, a long line of taxicabs circled San Francisco City Hall this afternoon, with cab drivers demanding that the city ban smartphone-enabled rideshare services.
As their colleagues circled the block, dozens of taxi drivers gathered on the steps of City Hall to call for the regulation of rideshare companies such as Lyft, Sidecar and Uber.
One of the rally’s organizers, Barry Korengold, president of the San Francisco Cab Drivers Association, called the startup companies “unfair competition.”
He said, “legal cabs are getting screwed,” citing a large drop in taxi ridership since the companies began operating.
The taxi drivers are asking city officials and the California Public Utilities Commission to step in… (more)

 

Public Comment on Uber, etc. at CPUC

By Mark Gruberg – excerpt

Thursday’s meeting of the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) has on its agenda the approval of a rulemaking proceeding involving Uber, Lyft and SideCar.  This “rulemaking” (as it’s called) is of critical importance, since it will determine whether those services will be legalized, and under what conditions.

The meeting is at 9 a.m. in the auditorium of the CPUC building at 505 Van Ness (McAllister and Van Ness).  Public comment is allowed, but if you want the full 3 minutes of speaking time, you must register in advance.  Otherwise you may only speak for one minute.

You can register in advance of the meeting at the CPUC’s Public Advisor’s Office, but the easiest way to do it is online.  Here’s a link to sign up to speak (courtesy of Barry Korengold):  http://www.cpuc.ca.gov/PUC/aboutus/Divisions/CSID/Public+Advisor/Public+Comment+Rules.htm
Click on “You can sign up to speak at a Commission meeting online”, fill in the form, and you’re signed up.
SideCar and Lyft provide service through private drivers using their own non-commercial, uninspected vehicles.  There is no telling what kind of insurance they carry.  Uber uses state-licensed vehicles, but the company itself is unlicensed — and now it is parasitically feeding off the taxi infrastructure to expand its service into city-regulated territory.  These services are accountable to no one.  They pretend they’re not transportation services at all, and deny responsibility for anything that might go wrong.  Is this in the public interest?
It’s really important that we get the message across that these services are unlawfully and unfairly competing with taxis.
– Mark Gruberg

Cabdrivers file class-action lawsuit against Uber ride service

By: Will Reisman : sfexaminer – excerpt

A class-action lawsuit has been filed against Uber demanding that the transportation service company stop operating and pay taxi drivers damages for lost wages.
Filed on behalf of cabdrivers Leonid Goncharov and Mohammed Eddine, the suit claims Uber creates unfair business competition by operating without regulation from state and local authorities.
Uber connects drivers with passengers looking for rides by using smartphone technology to locate and dispatch taxis, limousines and town cars.
While taxi drivers must have operating permits issued by The City, Uber employees do not, the suit claims. As a result, Uber is affecting the business of competing cabdrivers.
Meanwhile on Wednesday, state regulator the California Public Utilities Commission issued $20,000 citations for illegal operations to Uber and fellow ride-service companies Lyft and Sidecar. The citation cites a lack of proper insurance and workers’ compensation benefits, as well as a failure to enroll operators in mandatory driving classes. Previously, the CPUC had issued a cease-and-desist order against Uber, which has continued to operate… (more)