Incensed taxi drivers propose airport strike

By Elizabeth Creely : missionlocal – excerpt

According to Tariq Mehmood, a driver with National Cab Company, a taxi strike is planned for San Francisco International Airport on Feb. 1, one day after so-called “legacy” medallion holders will be barred from picking up fares there.

This comes after a Thursday action at City Hall, during which taxi drivers circled the block and marched to Mayor London Breed’s office in protest of a decision to prohibit drivers with medallions purchased prior to 1978 from working the airport…

Many carried placards calling for Ed Reiskin, director of transportation of the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) to be fired.

At issue is the SFMTA’s decision to limit the number of taxis allowed at the airport, a tactic critics say is nothing more than an attempt by the agency to undermine a lawsuit brought against the city by the San Francisco Federal Credit Union last year… (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)

Uber’s terrible week gets worse; Google sues for alleged theft of self-driving technology

By Colin Deppen : pennlive – excerpt

Uber’s week started with a former employee alleging she encountered systemic sexual discrimination during her time with the company.

The week ended with Google filing a lawsuit against the ride-sharing service alleging the technology now fueling Uber’s self-driving fleet in cities like Pittsburgh was stolen. This as both companies remain locked in a costly and frenzied modern-day space race to perfect the nascent technology.

In the lawsuit filed Thursday, the Google self-driving-car group, now known as Waymo, , accuses Uber of using stolen technology to advance its own self-driving car development…

According to CBS News, the 28-page complaint accuses a former top manager for Google’s self-driving car project, Anthony Levandowski, of stealing pivotal technology that Google says is now being used to fuel Uber’s own fleet of autonomous vehicles for its ride-hailing service.

CBS adds that the alleged theft occurred in late 2015, before Levandowski left Google to found a startup called Otto that is “building big-rig trucks that navigate highways without a human behind the wheel.” Uber bought Otto for $680 million last year, and Levandowski is now overseeing Uber’s effort to develop and dispatch cars driven by robots… (more)

RELATED:
Does Uber have a sexual assault problem? Charge against Pa. driver highlights concerns

I-TEAM: NEW STUDY CONFIRMS DEADLY GUARDRAIL DANGERS

ABC 7 I-Team on Sunday News – excerpt

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) –A new study about guardrails out this week confirms dangers raised by the ABC7 News I-Team in April 2013. They can malfunction, sometimes causing injury and even death. “20/20” explores the issue on ABC7 Friday at 10 p.m.

We aren’t talking about when a car bumps into the main part of the guardrail. These crashes are from the side, when the car strikes the very beginning of the guardrail as you’re driving down the highway.

The biggest guardrail manufacturer in the world is facing a growing number of lawsuits, over its guardrail end terminals named ET-Plus… (more)

SFMTA Spent $27 Million on Settlements Last Year

By: Victoria Holliday : resetsanfrancisco – excerpt

Reset research found that last year SFMTA spent $27 million on settling lawsuits levied against the MTA. These MTA settlements accounted for one-third of the $71 million total the city spent on settlements. The MTA had the most settlements of any single city department.

San Francisco Man Sues SFMTA for Improperly Towing His Ride

SFMTA could spend even more on settlements this year if the on-going class action lawsuit against it for improper tows is settled.

Riley got his refund, but he did not stop there. In 2010, he filed a class action lawsuit against the SFMTA for improperly towing his car based on a non-existing city statute. And with that, Riley is set to become a hero to frustrated San Francisco parkers.

The Class Action Lawsuit

The crux of Riley’s case is this: the city claims it has the right to haul off legally parked vehicles after 72 hours (residential parking permit or not) based on a state vehicle code, while Riley says they can’t because no such ordinance exists here in San Francisco. The SFMTA certainly has reason for towing cars after a certain period – nobody wants abandoned cars in their neighborhoods. But Riley’s lawsuit claims that there was no signage regarding the towing of cars with residential parking permits after 72 hours on the block where he parked. Even more, Riley contends no such sign exists anywhere in San Francisco. But that didn’t stop SFMTA from towing his vehicle and hitting Riley with $915 in tow fees.

Should Riley succeed, untold numbers of San Franciscans may be due a refund from the SFMTA. Given that our research shows SFMTA spent $68,000 on improper tow refunds last year alone, there is a pretty solid chance that the number could be substantial.

Stay tuned to follow this story… (more)

RELATED:
SF to study impacts of removing fees for retrieving towed stolen cars 

Lawsuit could mandate local control for Lyft, UberX, and SideCar

By Tim Redmond : 48hillsonline – excerpt

A taxi association has filed a pair of legal appeals that could directly undermine the state’s decision to allow companies like Uber, Lyft, and Sidecar to pick up passengers in San Francisco.

The case has received very little press attention, but it could upend a key part of the “sharing economy” in the city and force companies that are trying to act as unregulated cabs to curtail their operations – at least for now — or subject themselves to local regulation.

In San Francisco, that could mean seeking taxi permits, adopting stricter driver-screening and training rules, accepting rate regulation, and allowing passengers to complain to the Taxi Commission about service problems.

Among other things, the two legal filings argue that the California Public Utilities Commission had no right to legalize the ride-share companies without a full review under the California Environmental Quality Act.

The claims also suggest that the state agency undermined the ability of local government to regulate the cab industry… (more)

A big a question that has not been answered or discussed much is when is “how does one differentiate between a rental and a share?” This applies to more than taxi and ride shares. How are SFMTA car and bike shares not rentals when there is an exchange of funds between two parties and the charge of use of the vehicle is based on how long it is used? How are they not competing against traditional car rental companies?

Hate Parking Tickets? Fixed Fights Them In Court For You

by : techcrunch – excerpt

Up to 50 percent of parking tickets are dismissed when fought in court, but it takes knowledge and time to do it. New app Fixed will do it for you. Take a photo of your ticket, Fixed contests it, and if it’s dismissed, you pay Fixed 25 percent of the ticket price. If Fixed loses, you pay it nothing, so there’s nothing to lose. Fixed just launched in San Francisco, but wants to fight tickets nationwide.

David Hegarty started Fixed after paying four parking tickets one morning only to come to his car and find two more. “The tickets were complete bullshit, and I knew they had been erroneously issued,” he tells me…

The idea was so popular that Fixed filled up its early beta group in SF almost as soon as it launched its site, but you can sign up for the waiting list now…

In the meantime, it will have to compete with clumsier web-based services Parkingticket.com and ParkingTicketGuys. Scaling will be a serious challenge, and the company could run into trouble dealing with city governments. “They’ve seen parking fines as a cash cow that they milked from motorists,” Hegarty says. “If we start helping the motorist fight back, we don’t know how they’ll react.”…

$64 tickets (in SF) for not re-parking your car at 6 a.m. every other day seems a bit outrageous. If cities want to hammer people with expensive tickets, they should have to make parking rules clear and enforce them fairly. If they don’t, Hegarty says Fixed is “here to restore a little bit of justice to your day.”… (more)

This story is making it around the media. We waited till we saw a link to what appears to be a legit site to add it to our files. Here it is. Check it out and report back. http://getfixed.me

A lot of people are asking about taking ticket cases to court.  Yes, you can sue the city because the city is a corporation. There is a growing list of successes in lawsuits against city where parking and badly written tickets are concerned. One is scheduled to settle today. There are some attorneys who will take the city on when the appeals process fails.

Find out why is the appeals process is handled by the institution that hands out the tickets?

SF parking supervisor keeps job despite lawsuits

Dan Noyes , Chief Investigative Reporter : abclocal.go.com – excerpt

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) — You have to be battle ready to take on San Francisco’s parking wars. But one parking supervisor likes it that way — he has a long record of picking fights and when he loses, you pay. The ABC7 News I-Team has been following one parking supervisor for years as the lawsuits continue to pile up — assault, sexual harassment, restraining orders. But somehow, he keeps his job. He writes tickets while the city writes checks…
So what would it take for Georgopoulos to lose his job? MTA Director Ed Reiskin says he cannot comment on personnel issues, but that taxpayers can expect change in the department he took over last year…
“Most of the people who work for the MTA are good, hard working, honest people and we just need to make sure that we manage the entire workforce so more of them are that way and the folks who aren’t that way we manage up (what does that means, a promotion?) or manage out,” he said.
The city has spent about $1,200,000 so far defending and settling these cases…
(more)

Over a year and still no resolution on this, Ed? You must be busy with other things.