King of the Roads: Uber takes the crown with this deal.

Op-Ed by Zrants

Uber partners with JUMP after SFMTA handed them an exclusive e-bike deal, sort of. It looks like Motivate/GoBikes will be adding some e-bikes to their stations soon. How they will handle the battery charging program appears to be up in the air at the moment.

Market Share: Uber, Apple and Amazon are driven by the same lust for power and dominance that drove GM, GE and Philip Morris to conquer their markets. I don’t trust Uber any more than I trust Elli Lilly or Bank of America. These corporations are expert at hiding their holdings.

Holding Companies: This article on Motivate describes some of the corporate entities in back of GoBikes and leaves no doubt what motivates them to invest in bike share companies. https://metermadness.wordpress.com/2017/09/06/love-citi-bike-you-have-a-real-estate-developer-to-thank/

Corporate Deals: According to articles in streetsblog, and SF Examiner, Uber not only made a deal with JUMP, but, SFMTA negotiated a compromise between Uber and Gobike/Motivate, to would assure they did not have to compete with each other. Will it take a Charter Amendment for the San Francisco voters to get this level of attention and concern for our well-being?

How do taxpayers feel about paying for Ed Reiskin’s time and attention to these corporations who are taking over our public streets for profit? SFMTA officials are focused on supporting corporate interests and planning for our future in 2045 instead of finishing the major capital projects that are behind schedule, way over budget, and disrupting our lives. Could this be why the Central Subway and Van Ness BRT projects are so screwed up and we have grid-locked streets? Ed spends his time making deals?

RELATED:

Uber’s latest venture is a bike-sharing service in San Francisco. It’s working with dockless bike-sharing startup Jump.

By Mallory Locklear : engadget – excerpt

Uber’s piloting a new service in San Francisco alongside dockless bike-sharing startup Jump. Uber Bike will let users rent one of Jump’s 250 bikes, charging $2 for the first 30 minutes and an additional per-minute fee thereafter. Jump was granted a permit by the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency earlier this month, which made it the first company to operate a dockless bike-sharing program in the city. Jump’s 250 bikes should launch around the city between now and March and the SFMTA may allow the company to release 250 more after nine months, depending on how things go. The permit was issued for 18 months, during which the SFMTA will evaluate the program and the public’s response… (more)

Uber partners with JUMP on electric bike share pilot in San Francisco

by Monica Nickelsburg : geeklwire – excerpt

SINGAPORE — If Uber Technologies Inc. is planning a retreat from Asia, no one told Brooks Entwistle, head of the ride-hailing company’s business in the region.

The San Francisco-based company is planning an expansion in Japan and is offering faster booking and cheaper rides to gain share in Singapore, Mr Entwistle said in an interview…more)

For Uber, the trade-off is scale. If it pulls out of markets like India and Indonesia, that will improve profitability immediately — but it would sacrifice long-term growth. Chief Executive Officer Dara Khosrowshahi said recently the company would continue to be aggressive about expansion in 2018 as he sees Uber as being “everywhere for everyone.”… (more)

 

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San Francisco’s unfair towing charges

by Emily Green and Lizzie Johnson : sfchronicle – excerpt

San Francisco’s exorbitant towing fees represent an unjust penalty — and an unwarranted windfall for city government.

Tow trucks in San Francisco haul away more than wrongly parked vehicles. They effectively seize paychecks from drivers who need to fork over hundreds of dollars to retrieve their vehicles. It’s an unfair policy that city lawmakers must fix.

That change of direction can’t come soon enough. The penalties here are far higher than other major cities such as New York, Chicago and Los Angeles, where strict parking rules are needed to keep traffic flowing. Along with sky-high rates go another troubling factor: San Francisco’s transit overlords use the annual haul of 42,350 vehicles to cover expenses barely related to towing…

Reporters Emily Green and Lizzie Johnson delved into the towaway numbers to produce another level of unfairness. Transit budget maestros are dumping other costs onto the towing bill in the name of the city’s overarching transit-first policies that downplay private vehicles. Curb painting, ticket-writing salaries and city vehicle maintenance are all chalked up to towaway work, which is carried out by private contractors. Even a slice of MTA Director Ed Reiskin’s pay is tacked on to the towing program. It’s a stretch that officials justify by saying other transportation programs would be cut if the towing fees weren’t so high…

There’s a need for serious parking restrictions on San Francisco’s crowded streets. Along with this simple mandate is another requirement for balance, fairness and honesty. The city’s towaway contract needs revamping… (more)

RELATED:
Towing fees to come down after SF supervisors complain :
The cost of getting towed in San Francisco is going to come down by at least $75 as the Municipal Transportation Agency agreed Tuesday to reduce its fees after supervisors criticized them for being exorbitantly high, unfair and unduly regressive…
The administrative fee pays for every cost directly and tangentially associated with the towing program, including the salaries and benefits of the citation enforcement officers who enforce towing restrictions, the paint to paint red zones on curbs, vehicle maintenance, and even part of MTA Director Ed Reiskin’s salary.
Supervisor Aaron Peskin said that is wrong. “I question why a portion of the MTA director’s salary is being passed on to these people who have their cars towed.”… (more)

How are cyclists paying for their costs? paint, signs, enforcement, Ed’s salary and official time attending bike meetings? How are those costs being covered?

 

Do More Tech Shuttle Stops Lead Directly To Higher Rents And More Evictions?

BY JAY BARMANN : sfist – excerpt

Tensions over tech shuttles live on, surprisingly or unsurprisingly depending on where you stand on the “San Francisco has been destroyed” vs. “all change is good change” spectrum. And now anti-shuttle and anti-eviction activists are continuing their effort to litigate the issue as the reach of tech shuttle buses expands citywide. As the Examiner reports, the Anti-Eviction Mapping Project and several other litigants including activist Sara Shortt are now suing the city — as well as several tech companies who sponsor the private shuttles for their employees — in order to get a full environmental impact study to happen looking into the local impacts of the Commuter Shuttle Pilot Program.

Over a year ago the same groups and activists filed suit against the city declaring that the entire program was illegal, and it appears that suit has been abandoned in favor of this one.

The Board of Supervisors approved the 18-month pilot program in January of 2014, and now the groups appear to be pushing for an in-depth review of the program, as it continues to expand beyond the pilot stage…

Meanwhile, the drivers of this army of shuttle buses continue to lead sub-par existences, andthe Chronicle just profiled one 53-year-old driver, Scott Peebles, who is currently homeless and living out of his car. He’s one of several drivers who have been part of a Chronicle investigation as a group of 180 of them, all employed by Compass Transportation and serving a variety of tech companies, continue to negotiate for higher wages with the help of the Teamsters(more)

If you don’t like gentrification let them know. Sign the petition: SF Needs a Better Plan: https://discoveryink.wordpress.com/sf-actions/a-better-plan/

Bay Area Public Transportation

By Thuy Vu and Scott Shafer : kqed – excerpt – (video clip)

Getting around the Bay Area can be difficult. Traffic is a mess and public transportation isn’t always easy. KQED NEWSROOM’s Scott Shafer and Thuy Vu talk to the leaders of BART, Caltrain, Muni and VTA about what is and isn’t working with the Bay Area’s biggest transit systems.

Guests:
• Grace Crunican, general manager of BART
• Ed Reiskin, director of transportation of San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency
• Jim Hartnett, general manager of San Mateo County Transit District
• Michael Hursh, chief operating officer of Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority… (more)

More Muni Money, More Muni Problems: Even a $500 million boost won’t help Muni

By Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez : sfweekly – excerpt

…In the opening of John Oliver’s segment on crumbling infrastructure in the United States, which aired March 1, Ed Reiskin, transportation director of the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, got his 15 seconds of roasting.

“As much as I like to think otherwise, infrastructure is not very sexy,” Reiskin says on the show. His comments are played alongside a few other middle-aged Caucasian bureaucrats saying similar things…

To which Oliver replies, “Yes, infrastructure, like those men we just heard from, is important, but not sexy.”

Ouch. For the record, SF Weekly is no authority on bureaucrat sexiness — we’ll leave that one to the voters. It is worth noting that Muni’s infrastructure is a frequent topic in these pages. And at a Feb. 9 Capital Planning Committee meeting, Reiskin was making a similar argument as Oliver: San Francisco needs even more money for transit infrastructure.

The SFMTA’s infrastructure (of which Muni makes up the bulk) isn’t getting the attention or the money it requires, and over the next 10 years it will face a $4.9 billion in infrastructure obligations. That number will balloon to $11.5 billion in 20 years. In other words, that recent voter-approved $500 million bond for transit infrastructure won’t even put a dent in our needs.

“Spoiler: I’m not going to end by asking for a billion dollars,” Reiskin told the committee. Everyone laughed… (more)

A billion for Muni and another billion for BART. And they still can’t fix the potholes which the voters were promised several ballots ago. Even the bikers are complaining about the potholes. They hit on and go down. At least the four-wheeled vehicle don’t lose their balance over a pothole.

Dear Scott and Ed: About Sunday Parking for Religious Orgs

By missionlocal – excerpt

At least one Liberty Hill resident is unhappy. Elizabeth Zitrin sent this letter to Ed Reiskin, from the SFMTA and Supervisor Scott Wiener. She added a link to the church’s website.

If you would like to add your unhappiness, please comment or send Reiskin an email at ed.reiskin@sfmta.com and Wiener an email at Scott.Wiener@sfgov.org.

Dear Scott and Ed,

This picture was taken looking south on Guerrero between 18th & 19th Streets at 6:27 pm on Saturday, September 13, 2014.

This ongoing illegal parking by protected private churches who guard their privilege, and are protected by you and SFMTA, continues to create traffic hazards.

There is, as you well know, no application process for this privileged parking in a public roadway, no permit, no accountability, no person in the government or agencies of CCSF who claims to provide this special service and protection, no enforcement by SFMTA and years of absolutely no help from you for you constituents.

I ask you again to stop this dangerous and illegal occupation of active public roadways by private religious organizations… (more)

Thank you.

Elizabeth Zitrin

Liberty Hill

This is a divide and conquer tactic by the SFMTA. If you don’t like they are handling traffic and parking, privatizing public parking spaces, forcing more vehicles to double park, slowing traffic and creating gridlock, tell the city authorities you have had enough! Vote NO on A and B (no money without accountability) and YES on L: Restore Transportation Balance:
http://www.restorebalance14.org

Emails show ‘handshake agreement’ for tech buses using SF transit stops

by : sfexaminer – excerpt

Emails from The City’s transit agency over the past three years indicate that a “handshake agreement” exists for commuter shuttles to use Muni stops without being cited.

The correspondence also shows that there was internal discussion at the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency about whether to ticket for the illegal use of the public-bus facilities, while companies and their lobbyists called for leniency and requested citation dismissals.

The inquiries include emails sent to the SFMTA by shuttle providers and the companies that use shuttles…

Bauer’s Intelligent Transportation, a large provider of corporate shuttles, sent a Jan. 24 email to Ed Reiskin, SFMTA transportation director, after $3,000 in fines were received since April 2013.

“As you probably know, Bauer’s IT was an early provider of corporate commuter shuttle transportation dating back nearly ten years. At that time, we entered into a handshake agreement with SFMTA to use Muni stops,” wrote Michael Watson, Bauer’s vice president of marketing.

In an earlier email, Watson also referenced an “agreement.”

“As I assume you know, we have had a ‘handshake’ agreement with SFMTA for many years that allowed us to use the stops under a ‘Muni First’ condition,” the email said…

Paul Rose, an SFMTA spokesman, said his agency was “not aware of any handshake agreement.”

The identified representative of Google was lobbyist Ross Guehring of the well-known local firm Barbary Coast Consulting, who wrote in an April 10, 2012, email, “I think it would go a long way if these tickets could somehow be reined in during this policy development process.”…

On Jan. 21, the agency’s board of directors approved an 18-month pilot program that will allow shuttles to use 200 Muni stops for $1 per stop per day. A determination that the program didn’t need to undergo an extensive environmental review is being appealed to the Board of Supervisors, with a vote scheduled for April 1… (more)

RELATED:
SF Transit Agency must cease questionable-practices/
Corporate Shuttle Road Kill

Shock and Awe: The Little Hybrid Engine That Couldn’t

By Joe Eskenazi : sfweekly – excerpt

…By the time the board unanimously greenlit their mere existence on Oct. 29, scores of these buses were already squirreled away at a warehouse in Alameda. A majority of the city’s supervisors tell SF Weekly they had no clue this was the case. “Well, that’s fascinating,” says irked Board President David Chiu. “This is information that should have been disclosed to us. Boy, I’d kind of like to see this in writing.”

But that would require a conjurer’s touch. Muni boss Ed Reiskin and transit director John Haley confirm the acquisition of these 50 buses was predicated on a mere handshake. Bus manufacturer New Flyer, they claim, offered to crank out a platoon of hybrids to Muni’s specs, while assuming all the risks if the board saw fit to spurn the pending contract.

Asked to produce the paperwork verifying this, Reiskin and Haley claim none exists.

But that’s just the beginning of a particularly strange and harrowing journey. Further deconstructing the inner workings of these buses and the deal that landed them, peculiarities emerge one after the other, like rabbits out of a rabbit hutch…

SF Weekly contacted every supervisor; only Scott Wiener and London Breed recalled being notified of this arrangement beforehand. Neither thought to ask for any paperwork regarding the matter — Muni officials claim there’s none to be had — and both stand by their votes. Breed, however, admits “this definitely doesn’t look good.”

Her colleagues, having been left in the dark, are decidedly less sanguine. “Muni is kind of a rogue agency,” says Supervisor Malia Cohen. “They just do what they want to do.” Supervisor John Avalos calls the not-a-deal “very funky. For them to have a situation where the actual vehicles are parked across the bay waiting for us to vote on them makes me feel the wool was pulled over my eyes. What’s the point of even having a legislative branch of government?”

None of the supervisors — not one — knew about the internal BAE vs. Allison competition that Muni short-circuited, even though they’d unanimously greenlit that “split” bus purchase, too. That detail was within the legislative packet. But the supervisors are deluged with legislative packets.

Certainly, no one appears to have read this one…

Muni, it turns out, has no magic to speak of.

Just tricks… (more)

Comments on the source are appreciated, add some here, or better still, ask the supervisors what they plan to do about this:  http://discoveryink.wordpress.com/letters-and-comments/san-francisco-officials/

RELATED:
Board of Supervisors Approves Purchase of 50 Hybrid Muni Buses (October 9, 2013)
San Francisco to add 50 New Flyer hybrid buses
The San Francisco board of supervisors approved the purchase of 50 new hybrid 40-foot buses from New Flyer Industries to be used as part of Muni’s bus fleet… (more)

Muni Bus’ Inaugural Run Has Shaky Start

Michael Cabanatuan and Neal J. Riley : sfchronicle – exceprt

Muni just can’t catch a break. Even when it has the opportunity to boast about something good — dozens of snazzy new biodiesel-electric hybrid buses and a bus driver with a great head on her shoulders — something goes wrong.
The Monday dedication of the new buses, the first low-floor vehicles in the Muni fleet, seemed to be perfect. The weather was warm and sunny and the setting — at Pier 48, just across McCovey Cove from AT&T Park, was picturesque. Mayor Ed Lee gave a speech, as did other city officials, in front of one new bus while two others sat ready to carry guests on an inaugural ride to City Hall.
Lee then honored Felicia Anderson, a 14-year Muni driver who last week acted quickly when someone was shot aboard the 19-Polk. Anderson not only drove the full bus to safety but also took the wounded rider, who was only grazed by a bullet, to San Francisco General Hospital, just blocks away.
On that high note, Lee — joined by Transportation Director Ed Reiskin, other city officials and the media — climbed aboard one of the buses for a carefree ride to City Hall. But after showing off some of the bus’ new features, the driver couldn’t get the bus to budge…(more)

Muni’s contribution to San Francisco’s mental health

By: Melissa Griffin : sfexaminer.com – excerpt

Each year, the American College of Sports Medicine ranks the nation’s 50 largest metropolitan areas in its American Fitness Index. San Francisco ranked fourth this year, behind Minneapolis-St. Paul, Washington, D.C., and Portland, Ore. The Greater Bay Area gets good marks for the fact that almost 15 percent of people take public transportation to work, but low marks for “percent of days when mental health was not good.”
These things may be related.
Supervisor Scott Wiener has made it his mission to find a way to improve our public-transportation system, holding hearing after hearing on the status of Muni and its budget. Those meetings can be very depressing…
Reiskin will be coming to the Board of Supervisors this year to ask for $120 million in revenue bonds to make a small dent in the $2.2 billion needed in transportation infrastructure improvements. Additionally, the voters will be considering a vehicle license fee (likely in November 2014) expected to bring in $70 million per year to the general fund, where it will promptly be spent on things San Franciscans do not use every day…
Wiener is considering putting a measure on the same ballot with the fee to force the use of the new income for updating the physical transit system. Wiener also is considering a surcharge on tickets to events for the same purpose. Either proposal would need the approval of voters.
At the recent hearing, Reiskin acknowledged that, to get additional money, “We need to earn the credibility to get that support.”
No kidding… (more)