Ford Partnering with Global Cities on New Transportation; Chariot Shuttle to Be Acquired, Ford GoBike to Launch in San Francisco

By – excerpt

  • Ford is teaming up with major global cities – starting with San Francisco – to help solve congestion issues and help people move more easily, today and in the future
  • Ford Smart Mobility LLC to acquire Chariot, a San Francisco-based crowd-sourced shuttle service that plans to grow Ford’s dynamic shuttle services globally, providing affordable and convenient transportation to at least five additional markets in 18 months
  • Collaborating with Motivate across San Francisco and the Bay Area, Ford is adding more transportation options for residents and visitors with new Ford GoBike bike sharing
  • Ford establishes new City Solutions team as part of its Ford Smart Mobility LLC to lead expanding mobility efforts with key cities worldwide

SAN FRANCISCO, Sept. 9, 2016 – Ford is teaming up with major global cities – starting with San Francisco – to solve congestion issues and help people move more easily, today and in the future.

The company today is announcing an agreement to acquire Chariot, a San Francisco-based crowd-sourced shuttle service, and collaborating with bike-sharing provider Motivate to expand its transportation solutions in city centers. Ford also is establishing a new City Solutions team to work with cities around the world on their transportation needs…(more)


While this shuttle stop in the Castro has been part of a pilot program, it’s supposed to be a permanent fixture in February. Still, the MTA says there is always room for discussion.

“It really takes cars off the streets, it reduces gas emissions and it does a number of things that make our transportation network better,” Paul Rose, a spokesperson with the MTA, said. “We’re open top their feedback, we’re open to their input and we want to make sure we’re reaching as many people as possible.”

In the past 18 months the city has collected $2.5 million for the right to use these shuttle bus stops… (more)


The True Sharing Economy

Hint: It’s not Uber, Lyft, or Airbnb — and it’s been quietly thriving in the East Bay for years.

…Uber promotes its service as a liberating alternative to taxi driving, its traditional economy counterpart. The company claims that 73 percent of its drivers would rather have a job in which you “choose your own schedule and are your own boss” than a 9-to-5, salaried job with benefits. In 2014, the Uber news blog quoted an Uber driver and former taxi driver from Denver who proclaimed, “I feel emancipated.”.

But over the past year, Mario’s job satisfaction has declined, along with his income and the number of customers he has each day. He thinks the Bay Area market has become saturated with Uber drivers. As it gets harder to find passengers at any given time, he spends more time driving or sitting outside an airport with his app turned on, waiting for a “ping.”…

Mario is also acutely aware that his pay could erode further or disappear completely without notice. Every so often, he receives a curt notice from Uber about the company lowering rates in his area, which directly lowers his income. Mario also has driver friends whose accounts have been abruptly deactivated because of a low customer rating — even if that customer happened to be drunk or having a bad day when grading the driver. Although driving for Uber provides some helpful income right now, Mario said he hopes he can find a new job soon. “There’s no security,” he explained, “because it’s not something you get paid hourly for.” (The precarious nature of working for Uber is also why the Express has agreed to requests by Uber drivers that we only use their first names in this report.).

The recent announcement by Uber that it will expand its global headquarters to the old Sears building in Uptown Oakland has been accompanied by a heightened interest in the company and its business practices, as well as those of other companies in the sharing economy. Many local political and business leaders have hailed the arrival of Uber as a sign of the city’s long-sought revitalization. But from the perspective of critics and labor activists, the term “sharing economy” is grossly misleading, because companies like Uber are just offering a new form of unstable, unregulated employment — and there isn’t much actual sharing going on.

The word “sharing,” of course, connotes generosity and fairness — of equal access to something. It appeals to more than just convenience and immediate gratification — to a type of transaction that ideally might be more sociable and less wasteful than the regular economy. The idea of sharing is also attractive because it seems to address real problems in the current economy: unemployment and underemployment, the insufficiency of the minimum wage, consumer waste and environmental impact, and even social alienation…

But critics say that, in reality, Uber does little to address these issues. Moreover, as politicians and business leaders have celebrated the arrival of Uber, they’ve overlooked the local organizations and cooperatives that have been engaged in actual sharing for years. In fact, Oakland and the East Bay have long been home to innovative businesses that have established equitable structures and share risk, decision-making, ownership, and profit.

These small cooperatives and socially minded businesses, including Arizmendi Bakery and the Missing Link Bicycle Cooperative, have not generally been recognized as part of the new “sharing economy.” In fact, in many ways, they’re the polar opposite of Uber.

They make up what some advocates call “the true sharing economy.”… (more)

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There’s now a clubhouse for Uber, Lyft, Sidecar drivers

By CArolyn Said: sfgate – excerpt

Thousands of San Franciscans drive for hire through Lyft, Uber, Sidecar, Postmates, Flywheel, Sprig, Wingz and a host of other on-demand services. All those drivers have one key need in common: A place to heed nature’s call.

A new driver clubhouse called Groove aims to be their pit stop, offering a lounge South of Market where drivers can take breaks, get free coffee, use Wi-Fi and visit the restroom 24/7, as well as buy food-truck fusion cuisine from the likes of Bacon Bacon, Firetrail Pizza, Lil Burma and Dusty Buns.

But more importantly, Groove hopes to help foster a sense of community, said co-founder Emmanuel “Manny” Bamfo, 25. “It’s human nature to want to connect with your peers,” he said.

Groove is located at SoMa StrEat Food Park, a permanent food-truck site in the shadow of the Central Freeway. While the park’s regular hours are 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., drivers will have round-the-clock access to a heated barn-like space with picnic tables and big-screen TVs, as well as a converted school bus with benches where they can stretch out for a quick nap — and of course, the all-important restrooms. (Five stalls each for men and women, Bamfo said.) Another important consideration: The area has lots of free parking….

Will they mingle?

Taxi drivers famously loathe Uber and Lyft, blaming them for siphoning off passengers, and resenting that they operate with looser regulations. Won’t it be a recipe for disaster for cabbies and Uber drivers to mingle?… (more)

Looks like everyone is trying to make a buck off the new “sharing economy”, while lawsuits are being filed to put a stop to it. The sharing economy is creating niche interdependent exclusionary jobs based on sketchy business models. Do you want to hang out with your competition on your break? Makes more sense to meet potential customers.


How BMW cracked the streets of San Francisco

By Gabe Nelson : autonews – excerpt

SAN FRANCISCO — A prime downtown parking spot here costs $3.50 an hour.

Stay for 12 hours a day, and it adds up to $250 a week, or $13,000 a year.

Most car companies don’t worry much about the cost of parking, but in a garage under a San Francisco overpass, a group of BMW employees is figuring out how to factor those costs into a new business model. Three years ago, the company chose San Francisco for the U.S. debut of DriveNow, a car-sharing program that presages a future in which car companies won’t just sell cars — they’ll sell rides, one trip at a time…

Selling rides is sharing?

But the rollout in San Francisco has not gone as smoothly as BMW hoped…

In most cities where they operate, Drive-Now and archrival Daimler’sCar2Go users can pick up a car from the curb, drive across the city and park at any legal street spot. They can do this because those cities will sell DriveNow and Car2Go a “superpermit” — a master parking pass that serves as payment for parking meters and permission to ignore time limits.

San Francisco still has not granted a superpermit, after years of lobbying… (more)

It appears that BMW can only operate successfully with “superpermits” that allow their drivers to park in any neighborhood without or fear of getting a ticket. We all had that deal until 2012 when the SFMTA implemented their anti-car campaign by eliminating parking and traffic lanes.

The moment I learned just how far Uber will go to silence journalists and attack women

By pando – excerpt

A big debate among the Pando staff for the past two years has been over just how morally bankrupt Uber is. Earlier this evening, a bombshell story by Buzzfeed editor-in-chief Ben Smith proves the reality is way worse than anyone on our team could have expected.

And that’s saying something…

I have known many of Uber’s key investors and founders personally for six to ten years. Over that time I’ve seen an ever-worsening frat culture where sexist jokes and a blind eye here-or-there have developed into a company where the worst kind of smearing and objectification of women is A-ok. It’s impossible to prove that Kalanick directly ordered things like slut-shaming female passengers or the creepy Lyon ad — and, to be clear, there’s no evidence he was personally involved in either of those scandals — but let’s be clear: The acceptance of this kind of behavior comes from the top.

When I saw the Lyon post, it was finally enough for me. As a woman and mother of two young kids, I no longer felt safe using Uber and deleted the app from my phone.

And yet, somehow, despite years now of Pando carefully chronicling this disturbing escalation of horrible behavior — which has been considered cute by many of the other tech blogs and excused away by the VCs profiting off Uber– the company still has the ability to shock and horrify me… (more)

Is Uber considered part of the “sharing economy” that San Francisco is cashing in on?

Call ‘shared economy’ what it is: business deal

Willie Brown : sfchronicle – excerpt

I don’t know about you, but I have had it with the “shared economy.”

The last time I looked in Webster’s dictionary, “shared” was defined as “to have or use (something) with others, to divide (something) into parts and each take or use a part.”

So in other words, a “ride share” is two or more people going from point A to point B, with both helping to pay for the ride. Like you “share” the cost of gas.

Here’s another word out of Webster’s: “paid,” as in, “being or having been paid” for a product or service.

That is what you do when you get into one of these cars. You pay. Sometimes you pay a lot. Sometimes, a heck of a lot if there is a convention or other big event in town.

It’s the same with house or apartment “sharing.” These are paid transactions. Straight up “What’s the price?” business transactions.

The only real “share” in the deal goes to the tech company that acts as the broker…

Many cities are saying “no” to the shared economy. If San Francisco doesn’t figure it out, the next dot bubble burst will probably kill some of them off.

Carshare reserved parking not favored by everyone

By David Stevenson : ktvu – excerpt


City CarShare user, Jessica Martinson says she never has trouble finding parking in San Francisco.

“I have parking magic,” laughed Martinson.

Martinson now also has 22 new curbside spots specifically set aside for drivers like her, including a formerly metered spot on Clement Avenue near 24th Avenue in the city’s Richmond district. It was converted to car share-only just a few days ago.

The goal of the program is to encourage car share use. Transit officials say every shared car takes dozens more off the road.  But not everyone on this busy block is happy to see this space set aside… (more)

Newsflash! San Francisco has a privileged class.

The Sharing Economy is the Stealing Economy.

The public nonprofit City Car Share, that should be promoting public good will has teamed up with the SFMTA to take public street parking from the public, thereby angering the public they both claim to serve. And they claim they are doing it for you! The only option left to the public is to sue them, which many are doing, or vote against them. Voting is cheaper. Vote No on A and B and Yes on L to send a strong message to city authorities that you do not support the SFMTA.

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.

Nobody Wants My Spot: An Hour in Haystack’s Nonexistent Predatory Marketplace

By Austin Tedesco : – excerpt

The Haystack parking app launched in Boston last week, and to test out the service I did exactly what the city doesn’t want. I used it. Or, I tried to use it.

I held two public parking spots hostage creating a “predatory private market,” as a San Francisco city attorney called it, that would benefit almost nothing except my credit card balance. That was the goal, at least. It failed miserably…. (more)

This is one of many stories about the “sharing economy”. Stay tuned for more, including a graphic illustration of how it works and what it does and does not mean.

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