Muni Tests New App to Pay Fares

By Sarah Medina : 7×7 – excerpt

In the age of the Clipper card, it amazes me when I still see someone whip out cash to pay for their Muni ticket. I guess the Municipal Transportation Agency feels the same way, because they’re working on a new smart-phone app that will allow riders to pay their fare sans bills and change.

According to the San Francisco Chronicle, the six-month pilot program will roll out early 2015 and offer single-ride, cable car, special event tickets, and visitor passports. However, it will not include fast passes.

.. (more)

S.F. parking fee plan for disabled goes nowhere

By Phillip Matier And Andrew Ross : sfgate – excerpt

Convinced there’s widespread abuse of disabled parking placards, San Francisco’s Municipal Transportation Agency passed a series of recommendations to crack down on the problem – only to have them deep-sixed by the city’s own lawmakers in Sacramento…

One idea was to start charging the placard holders for parking, something that a number of cities already do. The transportation agency said there should then be subsidies for low-income placard parkers.

The locals, however, needed approval from the state Legislature… (more)

Thanks to efforts made by Assembley memebers Ammiano, Yee, and Hernanadez, and San Francisco’s FDR Democratic Club, and Disability Rights California, this is a dead issue for now.

SFMTA doesn’t know when to quit attacking people. Now they have raised the ire of placard holders. The best way to kill the plan to charge placard-holders is to Vote No on A and B and Yes on L.

In pilot scheme, San Francisco gives away public parking to carsharing companies

By : pando – excerpt

A few mornings ago I chanced on a 9”x11” slice bearing the emblem of the Municipal Transportation Agency, on a phone pole outside my apartment.

It concerned an MTA pilot project currently underway which will commercialize a public resource and grant special permission for its use for a select group of local disruptive companies, providing them competitive advantages

And it had nothing to do with Google buses. Sounds like a story, I thought, greedily, submitting to the subsequent chain of Pavlovian reactions.

Yet, it wasn’t quite the story I thought it was.

The notice announced a public hearing for two parking spots on my block that were proposed to be taken over by Zipcar, the preeminent carsharing company owned by Avis. Those spots are among 900 currently intended to be converted to car-sharing use over the next two years, divided equally among Zipcar, City Car Share and Getaround.

Another MTA Pilot, the Commuter Shuttles Policy and Pilot Project, emerged this spring to infamy and outrage. That program, which charges commuter shuttles $1 per use of city bus stops, has been operational since June 1st, so far without incident. The wave of bus blockades and protests that preceded it have also subsided.

The newest surge of tech-revulsion in San Francisco has centered on apps like MonkeyParking and ParkModo, which propose to pay some users to occupy parking spots until other users need them. The outrage these apps have induced has made it all the way to City Attorney’s office, and hinges on the unseemliness (and illegality) of private companies profiting off of public parking, an already scarce resource.

One would expect that news of the city giving away parking spots to a select group of companies would provide a healthy dose of grist to this rage-mill. Perhaps oddly, that hasn’t really been the case…

City Carshare is the elder statesman in the car-sharing market. And I don’t use the word ‘statesman’ lightly: the organization is a non-profit that, in addition to providing a service nearly identical to that of Zipcar, receives grants and donations to influence policy and legislation around “shared mobility”, and develops programs to the ensure the social equity and environmental sustainability of car sharing…

In 2011, City Carshare funded and implemented a similar but smaller pilot in partnership with the MTA. The current program derives from the lessons learned and data gathered during that first experiment. City Carshare and the MTA both point to the success of Zipcar and emergence of other competitors as proof of principle. By opening the playing field to other car sharing outfits and collecting the same data from each, the MTA hopes to better understand the effectiveness of different models.

Of the three chosen, Getaround may raise the most question marks. As a peer-to-peer car sharing network, Getaround users rent cars by the hour, as they do with Zipcar and City Carshare. But Getaround’s fleet of vehicles are private cars owned by other users. While car owners will have to pay to use the spots provided by the MTA (as do Zipcar and City Carshare), they also get paid to do so. Getaround estimates that owners make an average of $500 per month, with top earners clearing a grand…

The MTA will be hosting public hearings for spaces requested by the three organizations throughout the summer, after which the proposed spaces will be sent to the MTA’s (mayor-appointed) Board of Directors. By which I mean to say, speak now or forever hold your peace. A map of the spots requested can be found here.

The absence of backlash until now suggests either that the combatants in the so-called “culture war” in San Francisco are maturing or that the program is successfully flying under the radar. Either way, the atmosphere seems hospitable for public engagement.

Any cogent argument about the MTA’s current public-private programs has to rise above the level of “It’s capitalism and if you don’t like it, you can leave” or “Corporations are evil”, to address the complexities of the City’s efforts to reduce the number of cars in its streets and the validity of its mandate to do so.

For any still-unconvinced, self-proclaimed anarchists, I suggest consulting the American anarchist canon before taking up thy bullhorn. In particular, have a look at Paul Goodman’s 1961 essay “Banning Cars in Manhattan,” in which he proposed substituting private cars with increased mass transit and electric taxicabs. Ask yourself, anarchist, whether shared car services deserve parking spaces in your utopia… (more)

Thanks for the detailed information on the program.

Most of the effort so far has been to get an initiative on the ballot in November. Now that is secured, there is time for a broader discussion about the “shared economy”.  The public space giveaway to corporations program just feeds more anger and bitterness toward the SFMTA.

S.F. Sunday parking meter charge voted down

Jaxon Van Derbeken : sfgate – excerpt

After being bombarded for hours from all sides, the city’s Municipal Transportation Agency board voted to give up $11 million in annual revenue and go along with Mayor Ed Lee‘s plan to stop charging for parking in metered spaces on Sundays.

The panel voted unanimously to scrap Sunday parking charges, setting up another showdown at the Board of Supervisors when it considers the MTA budget. The members also voted to prioritize expanded service to low-income seniors and youths, banking on some of a $15 million surplus the agency has, and delayed some planned fare increases.

But parking was the most contentious issue in the budget process.

Mayor Ed Lee  and the Supervisors heard us on the Sunday parking meters. Keep up the good work. More letters and comments will get us back our streets. Thanks for all your support. You are great!

 

RELATED:
FREE PARKING On Sundays In San Francisco Is Back (KMEL)
Free Sunday Parking Returns to SF (funcheap)

Municipal Transportation Agency rolls out budget

By Michael Cabanatuan : sfgate – excerpt

Everything from free Muni rides for senior and disabled riders to shutting off parking meters on Sundays will be on the table when the Municipal Transportation Agency considers its budget for the next two fiscal years. (Mayors Transportation Task Force Proposals)

The agency, which oversees all things related to transportation in San Francisco – transit, traffic, parking, taxis – has proposed a basic spending plan of $915.4 million for the budget year that starts July 1 and $943 million for the following year. The budget covers the anticipated costs of operating existing transportation services.

A separate capital budget proposes spending $646.6 million and $749.1 million on physical improvements, including Central Subway construction, replacing Muni Metro rail cars and some buses, building more bike lanes and pedestrian safety projects, and installing new traffic signals.

The budget also calls for an automatic scheduled fare increase to $2.25 for single-ride fares paid in cash.

What’s not included are the proposals to raise, reduce or eliminate some fares and fees, increase service, build pedestrian and bicycle improvements, and improve technology.

A major new expense, however, is also a big unknown: increases in contracts with Muni’s labor unions, which are being negotiated this year. A potential big cost reduction is a proposal to reduce or eliminate work orders: that is, money paid to other city departments for services.

Setting those priorities will be the job of the MTA Board of Directors, which officially receives the proposed budget and hold its first public hearing at 1 p.m. on Tuesday. A second hearing will be held on March 4, with a series of less formal town-hall meetings also planned(more)

What happened to the claims that Muni is broke? They found some money? Where? If you care about Muni money you should to send some written comments and consider showing up to the hearings. Also check out the comments on KQED Newsroom below for an explanation on why bond deals could be in trouble. Who tracks the money?

RELATED:
KQED Newsroom: (5:40- 5:55)) “there was an 11 billion dollar water bond passed in 2009 that was loaded up with all kinds of pork projects, bike lanes, and everything else, and, they know that isn’t going to fly with the voters.”