Luxor Cab sold to competitor, will merge into consolidated Yellow Cab company

By Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez : sfexminer – excerpt

Another major taxi company has been sold in The City, and will soon become part of a taxi consolidation that hopes to boost the industry citywide.

Formed in 1928, Luxor Cab Co. was officially enshrined in San Francisco’s historical lexicon as a legacy business in 2016. Now, one of its competitors, Citywide Taxi, is in the process of purchasing the assets of the historic company in a bid to reclaim some of the business lost to tech rivals Uber and Lyft, leadership at both companies confirmed to the San Francisco Examiner…

The merger would solidify Yellow Cab’s position as the largest taxi company in San Francisco. The next largest competitor, Flywheel Taxi, has a fleet of 239 cabs, according to the SFMTA.

(more)

The history of taxis in San Francisco should make for interesting reading someday. We need to see a complete review and history of the disastrous medallion program, including, who suggested it, who promoted to it, and who approved it.

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Bay Area transit system to subsidize Uber, Lyft rides

By Denis Cuff : mercurynews – excerpt

DUBLIN — In a first for California, a public transit agency next month plans to begin subsidizing fares of people who take private Uber and Lyft cars to local destinations rather than riding the bus.

Passengers ordering Uber or Lyft car trips within two test areas of Dublin will be eligible to get door-to-destination service at a big discount under a partnership between the ride-hailing companies and the Wheels public bus system in Dublin, Alameda and Pleasanton.

The Livermore Amador Valley Transit Authority, which operates Wheels, said the one-year pilot project could help pave the way for changes in how public transit agencies in the United States serve suburban areas hampered by far-flung bus routes, few riders and little money from fares… (more)

 

‘Sharing Economy’ Stopped from Privatizing S.F. Public Parking Spaces

By S.F. City Attorney : capitalandmain – excerpt

Following today’s close-of-business deadline that City Attorney Dennis Herrera imposed on mobile app companies seeking to facilitate sales or auctions of the city’s on-street public parking spaces, all three businesses involved in the practice have confirmed in writing that their apps are currently on hiatus in San Francisco.

Herrera issued the first cease-and-desist demand to Monkey Parking on June 23, noting that the service violated state and local law, put drivers on the hook for $300 fines, and risked steep civil penalties of up to $2,500 per transaction for the company. The announcement named two other startups whose businesses similarly violated the law with mobile app-enabled schemes intended to illegally monetize San Francisco’s public parking spaces: ParkModo and Sweetch… (more)

RELATED:
sfcityattorney.org

SFMTA board expands locations for car share vehicles

: sfexaminer – excerpt

Despite dissenting voices from several San Francisco residents, San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency board members on Tuesday approved 25 new curbside locations across The City which only permitted car share vehicles can occupy.

The vote expands the transit agency’s on-street car share pilot program from its original 12 spaces citywide. Under the program, the curbside locations will be tow-away zones for all but permitted car share vehicles.

Three car sharing companies – City CarShare, Zipcar and Getaround – qualified to participate in the two-year pilot program and have together already requested 450 of 900 parking spaces available. San Francisco has 275,450 spaces on its streets, according to a citywide parking census released in May…

Zipcar relocated 90 percent of its spots where neighbors raised concerns about losing parking, said Jonathan Tyburski, representing the company…

“The City sounds like it’s selling curb to private business. I understand that concern and I would be very resentful of that, but to remind you this is a pilot,” he said. “SFMTA believes there is many public benefits to car sharing.”… (more)

Decisions to “take” public space for private use has angered many residents and merchants who are signing up to support The Restore Transportation Balance initiative. Join us and let the voters have the last word on these matters in Novembers: http://www.restorebalance14.org/

If you object to privatization and commercialization of public property:

 

  • Contact the supervisors and representatives on the MTA CAC and request that they address this matter.
  • Contact the media and let them know how this effects your life and businesses.
  • Let the “sharing companies” know that you will not support them until they relinquish the parking on public streets.
  • Contact legitimate car rental companies and find out how this policy effects them.
  • Ask local businesses how public  parking removal effects them.

 

This app will guide you to parking — and may get you a ticket, too

SAN FRANCISCO — A parking app that reliably helps find open spots in this congested city was coded on a turn-of-the-century tugboat in Sausalito.

The Terrapin served David LaBua as a coding den for VoicePark, a free app that uses sensors to monitor parking spots. It’s the only one we’ve tested to date that guided us to viable public spots on the busy streets of San Francisco.

“Parking is probably San Francisco’s biggest stressor, and writing about it has been very therapeutic for me,” says LaBua, who holds a master of science in psychology. “I had no intention of getting into the app game, but there was a real need for it.”

LaBua became a self-taught expert on parking in the town known for its hills, restaurants and arbitrary parking laws while living in the notoriously hard-to-park North Beach neighborhood. Such was his obsession that he penned a book about parking titled Finding the Sweet Spot and writes a gripping column where readers ask him for advice on their most pressing parking conundrums.

San Francisco’s parking pinch is a sign of the city’s tech-fueled growing pains. While the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency counts more than 442,000 free and paid parking spots, it’s evident from a map the city produced that most spots are concentrated downtown, not in tech-boom areas like the Mission, where workers often circle pointlessly searching for a spot in a neighborhood that’s part residential, part industrial.

A bunch of parking apps — including the transportation agency’s own app, which gauges availability and pricing — aim to smooth over the bumps in finding a spot. Push came to shove recently when the city attorney cracked down on parking apps based on the concept of drivers selling spots, which means the race for the best parking app is still on.

Right now, the VoicePark app monitors 18,000 parking spots in eight pilot areas with about 11,000 of those spots on the street. Each spot knows its built-in rules (street cleaning times, passenger loading zones) so the app will never guide you to a spot that’s not legal. “Ideally, someday, it’ll drive you to every spot in the city,” LaBua says… (more)

Many SF residents differ as to why the parking in SF is such a problem. Many blame the SFTMA not the techies, for eliminating  parking spaces all over the city.  Their latest scheme is to privatize the streets by selling or leasing parking rights to corporations who “share” their profits with the SFMTA. That is where the “sharing economy” concept comes from. Only apps that “share” their profits with the SFMTA are allowed.
If you feel as many do that privatization and commercialization of our streets is wrong and want to  change that, vote yes on the Restore Balance Transportation Initiative in November. Passage of this ballot will send a strong message to city authorities that the citizens disagree with the SFMTA program of eliminating public parking from pubic streeets and are demanding a halt to these practices.

Parking Shared Cars Instead of Private Cars Isn’t Exactly “Privatization”

The SFMTA’s endeavor to reserve on-street car parking spaces for car-share vehicles has yielded complaints from some car owners who, ironically, decry the “privatization” of space currently used to store private cars.

But the greater point that some folks seem to be missing is this: No use of public street space is more “private” than dedicated storage of private individuals’ automobiles. To decry converting comparatively few of these spaces to welcome a much more efficient form of auto storage – making each space useful for dozens of people, rather than one or two – is absurd.

Yet that’s what Calvin and Michelle Welch argue, in flyers they distributed that protest two on-street car-share spaces in the Lower Haight, as Hoodline recently reported. ”It would privatize a shared, currently free, scarce public resource making it available only to paid members of a car share program,” the Welches wrote. (It’s worth noting that Calvin Welch is a longtime activist who opposes the construction of new market-rate housing (more)

The comments on this article are off the rails. We need a serious discussion about the privatization of public property among people who know the legal facts.

 

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.

Hearing: Dedicated On-Street Parking For Carshare Vehicles

noevalleysf.blogspot – excerpt

There’s a hearing at City Hall tomorrow morning asking for public comment on dedicating certain on-street parking spaces to car share vehicles (Zipcar, City CarShare, etc.). In other words, you can’t park your car in those spots. Parking is a big deal to some in Noe Valley, so we were glad to get this from Heather World:

The city’s program to dedicate on-street parking to car-sharing vehicles leaps forward July 11 when residents are invited to comment on 100 proposed sites, including seven in Noe Valley.

Two spots are proposed for 22nd Street and Noe and for Clipper and Sanchez. One spot is proposed for 24th Street at Sanchez, 29th Street at Dolores, and San Jose Avenue and Duncan Street.

The pilot program is part of the city’s effort to improve congestion and encourage car sharing, said project manager Andy Thornley…

Here’s a link to more information about the Car Sharing Policy and Pilot Program, as well as a map of all locations in San Francisco [PDF]. If you can’t make the meeting you can send your comments to Andy Thornley(Note that Mr. Thornley is not a SFMTA employee; he is ontracted out by a corporate consultant hired by the SFMTA to oversee this handout to other corporate interests. Last we heard it was Serco.)

The July 11 hearing, hosted by the SFMTA Sustainable Streets Division, will take place at 10 a.m. in Room 416 at City Hall… (more)

What: Hearing about proposed sites for dedicated on-street carshare parking
When: July 11, 10am
Where: City Hall, Room 416

Keep in mind that Zipcar is owned by Avis. Our city is allowing one of its agencies to privatize our public parking spots for the exclusive use of Avis.

Map: SFMTA’s 900 On-Street Car-Share Parking Spots Coming Along

by : sfstreetsblog – exerpt

The SFMTA is rolling right along with its plans to reserve 900 on-street parking spots for car-share vehicles, which will bring a convenient alternative to car ownership to more of the city. The agency has published a draft map [PDF] of proposed car-share spaces throughout the city. The map isn’t final, but residents can start to get a sense of where they might see car-share pop up in their neighborhoods starting this year… (more)

Another moveon petition to Stop Actions by the SFMTA designed to privatize and commercialize public property.

Message from moveone:

No Public Space for Private Use recently created a petition on our public petition website entitled “San Francisco Keep Corporate Greed Out of Your Parking Spaces”—and moveone would like to know what you think of it.

The petition is addressed to Ed Reiskin, Director of Transportation, SFMTA Board of Directors, and Andy Thornley, and reads:

SFMTA has set aside 450 parking spots city wide for a pilot program to rental car corporations to be used as free advertising under the guise of being not for profit companies. Their concept being that we are “sharing” these rental cars instead of renting a car. It is more expensive to rent a car by the hour than the day. If SFMTA decides they like the revenue this pilot program brings , the number of these private use parking spaces will increase from 450 spaces to 900 spaces city wide. They will no longer be available for your (public) use. Guess who profits.

These companies have misled the public into believing these actions will help save the environment, when in fact it will put more cars on the streets creating more pollution.

This selfish corporate thinking compromises the local workers who need their vehicles to transport the tools of their various trades to the job sites.

This is just another attack on the working class of San Francisco. 
Please support No Public Space for Private Use and sign this petition.

Sign No’s petition.

Here’s what No wrote about it:

The city of San Francisco is being bought out by big business and it’s coming to your front door. If this pilot program is successful 900 private parking spots will be for the exclusive use of City Car Share, Zipcar and Getaround. No neighborhood is exempt.

NO PUBLIC SPACE FOR PRIVATE USE

Can you click to let us know what you think?

I want to sign this petition.

I don’t think MoveOn should support this petition.

We’ll decide whether to send this petition out to additional MoveOn members in your area based on your feedback.

In case you haven’t heard about it, MoveOn’s petition site allows anyone to start an online petition and share it with friends and neighbors to build support for their cause.

Thanks for all you do.

– moveone