Carpool cash doled out to slash traffic

By Samantha Weigel : smdailyjournal – excerpt

In the ongoing effort to reduce congestion in a region where nearly 70 percent of people drive to work alone, $1 million will be offered to those who carpool to or from San Mateo County

The City/County Association of Governments announced a new pilot program this week that plugs in to the proliferation of smartphone apps and the rise of the sharing economy.

C/CAG will help subsidize carpooling for those who live or work in San Mateo County by offering $2 for both drivers and passengers traveling during peak commute hours. The program began last week for those using Scoop Technologies’ smartphone app and another contract is being drafted for Waze Carpool, said C/CAG Executive Director Sandy Wong.

“We want to try out more innovative strategies to reduce congestion,” Wong said. “We capture the new trend in the sharing society, and are using new technology of the app that provides users a more real time base.”

The app matches people who live and work near one another, with people booking rides just a few hours in advance. Passengers pay a distance-based amount to the driver. Scoop touts its app as a way to save time by steering people toward the carpool lane, reducing traffic and helping commuters save money… (more)

Commuter Shuttles Policy and Pilot Program

sfmta.com – excerpt

The SFMTA is conducting an 18-month pilot that will test a limited network of shared Muni and commuter shuttle stops. Shuttle service providers must apply and pay for a permit to use the network. This pilot aims to minimize impacts of commuter shuttles while supporting their beneficial operations. The pilot addresses commuter shuttles that operate within San Francisco and between San Francisco and jobs in other cities. The pilot term is August 2014 through January 2016. An evaluation of the pilot is now available: see the Documents & Reports tab.

Submit concerns and inquiries about specific commuter shuttle activity to the 311 Commuter Shuttles feedback form .

(more)

 

San Fran: Should Google Be Allowed to provide FREE Bus Rides for Its Employees–or do UNIONS Control All Transportation

By Stephen Frank   – excerpt

City Attorney’s office tries to stall Google Bus trial hearing 

By Joe Fitzgerald Rodrigue, SF Examiner, 3/15/15

Petitioners of a lawsuit against San Francisco’s commuter shuttle pilot program last week challenged a motion by the City Attorney’s Office to have more time to respond to the suit.

The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency created the pilot program last year to study the impact of the so-called Google Buses, private shuttles that transport tech workers to campuses around the region. The buses have attracted ire in San Francisco as symbols of tech-industry gentrification.

The Coalition for Fair Legal and Environmental Transit filed suit last year against Google, Apple, shuttle providers and The City to stall the program, alleging they failed to study impacts of exhaust in the air and stress on the asphalt. They also argue rents skyrocket near the shuttle stops, displacing people with the luck of living near them.

Last Wednesday’s filing came as Superior Court Judge Garrett L. Wong was on vacation. The trial is set for June, but the City Attorney’s Office pressed for a key pre-trial hearing on March 27 to be pushed back.

Wong will hear arguments Monday for rescheduling the hearing.

The effort to delay the hearing coincides with a State Assembly committee hearing on AB61, a bill which would legalize aspects of the commuter shuttle pilot program statewide. Approval by the committee may add legitimacy to the city attorney’s arguments that the pilot program is allowable, some insiders said…

… the bill’s language may in fact aid the petitioners’ case since it acknowledges that aspects of the shuttle pilot program are illegal… (more)

When you displace and inconvenience a majority of the population in order to privilege a minority group, you will not be welcome.  How many shuttles can San Francisco residents take?

SFMTA Pilot Offers Slight Change in Tech Shuttle Map

By misisonlocal – excerpt

When the SFMTA’s new pilot program to regulate tech shuttles starts in August, neighbors may not notice huge changes. Despite coming in the wake of significant neighborhood complaints about the shuttles’ omnipresence, the pilot program will shift the location of stops but not decrease the actual number of stops operating in the Mission… (more)

SF tech bus program could be stalled for months by appeals

by : sfexaminer – excerpt

San Francisco’s pilot program for commuter shuttles could be stalled for months or even derailed by The City’s largest labor union and community advocates who are fighting the proposal by using a state environmental law.

The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency approved the pilot program for commuter shuttles, which are commonly referred to as tech buses, after years of rising tensions. Any delay would leave many unanswered questions for the workers and students who use the shuttles, along with police and parking control officers. The pilot was born in response to complaints about the impacts of the shuttles and lack of traffic-violation enforcement.

The opponents of the SFMTA proposal are appealing for the shuttle program to undergo a rigorous environmental study…

The appeal will put the Board of Supervisors in the hot seat April 1, (April Fool’s Day) when the 11 elected officials are expected to vote on whether to uphold the appeal, which would require the program to undergo an environmental review. The vote hearing is expected to draw a large turnout.

The appeal for a larger study on the shuttles argues that the buses have led to displacement and other elements of gentrification in The City. The tensions between residents and the burgeoning tech industry — which some blame for the rise in rents, cost of living and evictions — garnered nationwide attention when activists blocked commuter buses in December… (more)

Red MUNI-only lanes coming to Church Street

californiabeat.org – excerpt

Beginning Saturday, a three-block stretch of Church Street will become part of an experiment to expedite service on two of San Francisco’s busiest and chronically late transit lines.
The city’s Municipal Transportation Agency will convert the two center lanes of traffic — one in each direction — of Church St. between Duboce Ave. and 16th St. for use exclusively by MUNI vehicles and taxis 24 hours a day.
Courtesy SFMTA
The pilot program will call for the lanes to be painted red to make them more visible to motorists who might otherwise drive in them and risk being ticketed for entering the transit-only lanes… (more)

Up to 60 percent of Bay Area workers may benefit from law to get commuters off roads

By Caroline Davis : peninsulapress.com – excerpt

Gov. Jerry Brown’s recent signing of a bill that authorizes a four-year pilot commuter benefits program is expected to take cars off San Francisco Bay Area roads and put money back in the pockets of roughly 60 percent of the area’s workers.
Depending on how eligible employees choose to take advantage of the program, it could offer significant savings — or added expenses — for businesses, transportation officials say.
The legislation affects Bay Area companies with 50 or more full-time employees who work more than 20 hours a week. Those firms are required to offer employees a choice of three primary options, all designed to give a financial incentive to carpool or use mass transit…
Under the pilot program, one of the three employee choices is known as “the pre-tax option.” It enables workers to elect to pay for transit passes, van-pooling and bicycling expenses with pre-tax dollars – reducing the amount they owe in payroll taxes, primarily on Social Security and Medicare. Employees would also save an estimated $500 to $1,000 annually in commuting costs… (more)

SFpark – Brilliant or Boondoggle?

By John Van Horn : parkingtoday.com – excerpt

Did you know that SFpark, San Francisco’s much ballyhooed new high-tech parking program is a test? It is a multimillion-dollar 18-month-long program that will end in December, and then … who knows?…
The key to this data collection is the sensor, which is a hockey puck-style device located at each space, and therein lies part of the tale. The sensors have been problematic from day one…
SFpark is not self-funding. The SFMTA needs the parking revenue generated in San Francisco to support its various transportation projects. (more)

The author found a a $6 million shortfall in revenue from the city’s garages since SFPark’s programs were initiated in them. We wrote a letter of appreciation to John, who is looking for feedback on SFPark’s operation.
Let’s give him feedback.

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