SF planning first-of-its-kind laws for ‘jitney’ private bus system Chariot

By Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez : sfexaminer – excerpt

For as long as there have been autos, private “jitney” buses have operated on San Francisco streets. Jitneys carried passengers to the Panama-Pacific International Exposition in 1915, and many Muni lines today run on former private bus lines.
By the 1970s, private transit by the Bay declined. The last known historic jitney driver in San Francisco who owned a single private bus, Jess Losa, reportedly hung up his hat last year.

But those private buses have since returned to their former prominence with the aid of tech apps — like Chariot, the Ford-owned private bus company that started in San Francisco…

Now more than a century after jitneys first appeared, The City is planning new laws to regulate them, updating patchwork regulations strewn across multiple city agencies due to historical accident.

Earlier this month, the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency revealed its plans for private bus services at a SFMTA Citizens Advisory Council.

Chariot is the only private bus service left in San Francisco, SFMTA staff told the council, so for now the new laws would exclusively regulate just that company — but regulations would cover any similar services that may arise in the future…

Why are jitneys treated differently from tech shuttles? They are both private commercial enterprises. Jitneys do a lot less damage to the street, take up less space and get around the narrow steep streets a lot easier than the large buses and tech vehicles. Jitneys are one option for the public to choose from to get around town.

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SFMTA in midst of robust study of private shuttle industry

By: Will Reisman : sfexaminer.com – excerpt

The proliferation of private workplace shuttles, which take thousands of cars off the road but often conflict with Muni vehicles, is getting the serious attention of city officials, who hope to regulate the services within the coming months.
In The City, at least 27 institutions employ private shuttles, which pick up employees in their neighborhoods and drop them off at their jobs. The shuttles use about 200 loading and unloading zones, many of them near Muni bus stops, including a huge presence on Van Ness Avenue and other busy corridors, according to the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency.
The shuttles spend about one minute at each stop, often using Muni loading zones or temporarily double-parking, which can put Muni vehicles behind schedule…“It’s time to embrace shuttles as part of the transportation system, and that means coming up with the right regulations,” said Metcalf. “The goal should be to have more of these vehicles, not less.”…
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More shuttles and jitneys for the public could help stem Muni loses on slow and underused routes.

Painted transit only lanes set for Church Street

By Will Reisman : SFExaminer – excerpt

A pair of painted transit-only lanes — the first of their kind in The City — are set to debut next month on a notoriously congested section of Church Street, an approach likely to be adopted on other busy arteries…

Other roads slated for painted transit-only lanes:

  1. Fulton Street, 5-Fulton
  2. Park Presidio and 19th Street, 28-19th Avenue
  3. 16th Street, 22-Fillmore
  4. Columbus Avenue and Stockton Street, 30-Stockton
  5. Judah and Irving streets, N-Judah
  6. Mission Street, 14-Mission
  7. San Bruno and Geneva avenues, 8X-Bayshore Express

Source: SFMTA

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Someone should remind the SFMTA that Prop A* includes taxis and vanpools  in the list of vehicles allowed to share transit only lanes. We assume they will follow this policy.

Someone should inform the SFMTA that the above entities are meant to supplement Muni , and should be encouraged  to cover slow routes that Muni is dropping so as to continue to serve the transit needs of the public.

Transit First Policy Amended by Prop “A” approved 11/6/2007
SEC. 8A.115.  TRANSIT-FIRST POLICY.
2.     Public transit, including taxis and vanpools, is an economically and environmentally sound alternative to transportation by individual automobiles…
4.     Transit priority improvements, such as designated transit lanes and streets and improved signalization, shall be made to expedite the movement of public transit vehicles (including taxis and vanpools) and to improve pedestrian safety.