Contradictory Reports presented at Special SFMTA Meeting

shuttleson24th

People are asking for data about the Tech Buses. Here is some data that was presented by the SFMTA this week by the City Controller and the SFMTA.
It is interesting to read both reports and see how the Controller Report contradicts many points in the SFMTA PR spin presented at the same meeting. You can find some links to those reports here:

SFMTA Board Special Meeting Tuesday, February 7, 9 AM – agenda
Green Room War Memorial Building, 401 Van Ness Ave.
Labor negotiations and closed session followed by presentations of current projects.
Financial Overview – presentation
Items 7-9 SFMTA Board Workshop – presentation

How the media buy claims that the Bay Area has the worst traffic in the country and the best public transit is beyond me. The two would seem to cancel each other out, but, we live in a world of fake news and alternate facts. People believe what they choose to believe until they experience something different. Right now many of us are experiencing a lot of large vehicles with darkened windows roaming through our streets like a foreign invasion.

Many business reports are showing a decline in the tech and construction industries. (look it up for yourselves) At the same time, there is also an expected loss of revenues coming from the federal coffers over the next four years that could seriously impact many projects the city was planning to fund, including those proposed by the SFMTA. These issues are largely based on international financial chaos and political uncertainties.

The tech buses may not be needed much longer. If these uncertainties continue and there is a decline in ridership they should downsize the buses and fleets to reflect that change.

The corporations that run the shuttles on our city streets should be responsible for generating reports on the number of buses and passengers that use these shuttles, much as the short term rental services are being required to do now. As far as I know the reports are being generated by public volunteers.

Requiring reports would be a good first step in solving this problem.

RELATED:

Not Even Donald Trump Can Save Twitter:
huffingtonpost – excerpt
…In a press release, C.E.O. Jack Dorsey called 2016 a “transformative” period for Twitter—a positive spin on a year filled with negative headlines. In the past several months, Twitter cut 9 percent of its staff; shed businesses like Vine, which didn’t make money; explored the idea of a sale but couldn’t find a buyer; struggled with its very public abuse and harassment problems as trolls chased high-profile users such as actress Leslie Jones off the platform; sold its Fabric developer business to Google; and lost several executives, including C.O.O. Adam Bain. (Twitter’s talent exodus continues to this day: just this week, two more execs left the company.)… (more)

Can Uber Outrun Its Own Future?
huffingtonpost – excerpt
Burning through cash in a race to escape the economic realities of the ride-hailing market, Uber is looking to a future without drivers—and now without cars, either...(more)

Yahoo Says Sale to Verizon Delayed Until Second Quarter
bloomberg – excerpt
Yahoo! Inc. said the sale of its main web operations to Verizon Communications Inc. has been delayed until next quarter to meet closing conditions while the company recovers from the disclosure of massive hacks to its user accounts… (more)

San Francisco Needs a Break from Stressful Disruptions on our Streets

Op-ed by Zrants

There is a capacity problem no matter how you try to move because the development policies are not in sync. The theory that housing fees will cover the expense of producing capacity has not panned out. The plans are flawed. The developer fees do not cover the costs and they come too late.

There are too many forces driving the increase in traffic on all the modes.
People moving here are pushing people who live and work here out to the suburbs forcing more people to commute in to work, while many new residents are commuting out.

Add all the contractors and others who have to drive in to work whose businesses were pushed out, by those moving in, and you have a lot more regional traffic than we had a few years ago. All it took was a shuffle or two of the housing deck to rack up the rents and property values to create this mess.

The public wants relief now SFMTA has its head in the future, planning ways to disrupt and rearrange traffic and buses instead of buying buses and hiring drivers to add capacity now. They are racking up tax dollars in studies and experiments while blaming everyone but themselves for the traffic they created. Have you tried to suggest anything to them?

SFMTA coud care less about shuttles, Ubers, Lyfts, Charriots, taxis, carshares, bikeshares, and other distractions unless they can figure out a way to profit off them. That is why the public is taking the shuttles on.

Shuttle Bus Petition

We the undersigned request that the City and County of San Francisco institute measures to relieve traffic congestion and mitigate environmental impacts resulting from the Commuter Shuttle Program. We urge the exploration and adoption of alternative transport modes, such as the use of smaller, more efficient vehicles and ride-share platforms, the consolidation of bus routes, and the wider dispersal of the traffic presently concentrated on a narrow selection of over-burdened streets… (sign here)

Please support this petition if you don’t want this coming to your streets. It is out of control in Noe Valley and many other neighborhoods. The plan comes up for review around the end of March. Get to your supervisor about it before then.

Shuttle bus facts:

  • There is no Environmental Review and that is the problem.  The reference is to the “HUB” Study written by MTA and the SFCTA utilizing the SFChamp Transportation model.   The HUB Study was published in November 2016.
  • The SF CHAMP model was based on assumptions (surveys, studies) 10 to 15 years old.  The HUB study was unable to collect current salary information, travel distance, (only zones on the Peninsula).  The Millbrae BART option was discounted because it was not in SF although it has ten bus bays available.
  • The Bottom line, Retaining the One Seat Commute (in a half empty commuter bus) is the objective of the Bay Area Council justifying the reduction of drive alone autos.  The assumption of drive alone is questionable since many young people do not own autos and rely on Uber/Lyft.

Dissenting view: Yes on Prop L

By Pratima Gupta and Phil Chin : sfchronicle – excerpt

Proposition L holds the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency accountable by encouraging a balanced oversight body. Its board of directors oversees a $1.1 billion budget and directs the policies and projects that determine whether the city sees increased traffic gridlock or streamlined bus transit — or whether another pedestrian is killed.

While the majority of city commissions have seats reserved for neighborhood representation, the SFMTA board members are accountable only to the mayor. Prop. L creates a split-appointment process that finally gives neighborhoods a chance to be represented. It would also allow the Board of Supervisors to amend the SFMTA’s budget with a majority vote.

When a Lowell student was killed on Sloat Boulevard in 2013, the community had been demanding pedestrian safety improvements for years. When the SFMTA moved to shut down lower Stockton Street for designer retail chains, the increased congestion was a death knell for the Chinatown community. When San Franciscans asked the SFMTA to regulate giant luxury shuttle buses, the SFMTA responded by charging them a mere $1 per day per stop (since raised to $3.55), even in narrow residential streets. The SFMTA’s idea of community outreach is holding a meeting to talk at stakeholders about their plans — not asking for input or listening to concerns.

Investing in our transportation system only works with meaningful input, oversight and accountability.

Pratima Gupta is vice chair of the San Francisco Democratic Party. Phil Chin is a transit advocate…

The Chronicle’s View

Insulating transit planning from political meddling buys a degree of independence. That’s especially needed in a city plagued by traffic wars, jammed transit and costly employees…

SFMTA has gone too far with the narrow streets. Not only are they slowing down fire trucks, engines and emergency responders , but the buses can barely turn the corner. I watched a relatively small Muni bus attempt a turn at Harrison and 11th Street today. Given that half the street was closed off, the bus was forced to wait for the traffic to clear in the opposite lane before it could proceed. even though the bus had the green light.

It looks as if Prop L has already had some good results. After years of requests for more shuttles to extend the service during rush hours and for various reason, now that the SFMTA is feeling threatened by Prop L, they are suddenly adding shuttle buses to the busiest routes. Maybe if we keep pushing them, they will bring back those routes they killed on Valencia and other streets that Muni riders miss.

Meet the SF man responsible for more than a quarter of all tech bus complaints

By Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez :  SFExaminer – excerpt

Edward Mason is on the hunt, and his target is the elusive tech bus.

But Mason does not seek out his prey merely once. Instead, he catches the gleaming metal vehicles in the act of violating city rules on the “Commuter Shuttle Program,” repeatedly…

Employees of many tech companies hire commuter buses between San Francisco and Silicon Valley, which weave in and out of city neighborhoods to pick up employees.

Tech workers defend the shuttles, and often say Caltrain is too full to use in a Silicon Valley commute. Tech workers frequently say in meetings that the shuttles take many cars off the road…

A pilot program to monitor and regulate shuttle use began in August 2014, and that’s when Mason began his hunt. He’s been enormously effective…

Overall, Mason has provided information on commuter shuttles 282 times, according to the SFMTA.

Mason’s emails detail scores of infractions, including a shuttle idling in a narrow street it’s not allowed in, shuttles staging in Muni stops, shuttles blocking access to Muni buses, incorrect permit decals, incorrect license plates and more.

“The plan says buses are supposed to avoid deep and narrow streets,” he said, “but what else is there in San Francisco?”…(more)

Los Gatos residents complain about corporate buses

By Judy Peterson : eastbaytimes – excerpt

The controversy that’s followed corporate buses from San Jose to San Francisco has arrived on Los Gatos’ doorstep. Both Apple and Google operate buses that take town residents to work in Cupertino and Mountain View, but some of their neighbors are complaining.

One complainant is Michael Farr, who lives at Knowles Drive and Carpi Avenue, where Googlers are picked up in the morning and dropped off in the evening.

“They come and go just like a transit center,” Farr said. “They’re an accident waiting to happen. This is a residential street, not a parking lot.”

 Town manager Laurel Prevetti said the Googlers apparently started parking on Capri after being “kicked out of the Vasona Station shopping center” because they were taking customer parking spaces.
 Since Knowles and Capri are public streets, anyone can park there for up to 72 hours.

“We talked to Google in March to talk through some options,” Prevetti said. “We have a lot of questions, we don’t necessarily have a lot of answers. So, we need solutions. One solution is land: Is there land available so they can have a designated place to park?”

Mayor Barbara Spector is also working the issue, and parks and public works director Matt Morley is looking into a couple of parcels of land that could possibly be used for corporate parking.

Farr likes that idea. “They should buy a parking lot,” he said.

He also thinks the buses should be regulated… (more)

Now we know that the tech shuttles are not a San Francisco problem. They are creeping into every other county and the citizens and governments are not just rolling over. The most important thing to be done right now is to contact our state representatives and let them know how we feel about the situation so they will not pass these bills: AB1641 and AB61

Shuttle Bus case in Superior Court

Thursday April 28, 2016 at 1:30 PM. 400 McAllister at Polk. court room 508, Judge Wong. will hear the Shuttle Bus case in Superior Court.  Only the Judge and lawyers will speak. The Decision will come later. if you are interested.  Plaintiffs are requesting that the judge issue a decision on the California Vehicle Code 22500.i preemption matter, since the trial was finally held on November 13, 2015.  The other side is seeking dismissal of the case.

Thank you for all your letters of opposition to AB-1641 and ABX1-25
Assemblymember Travis Allen pulled AB-1641 from the Assembly Transportation Committee agenda for April 11, and it has not yet been rescheduled.  The last day for non-fiscal bills to be heard in committee is May 6.  If you have not yet gotten your letters of opposition to both bills in, there is still time.  Templates are attached for each.
ABX1-25 — OPPOSE 02-22-2016
AB 1641– OPPOSE 02-22-2016
Please submit them to the Honorable Jim Frazier, Chair, Assembly Transportation Committee, C/O Toni Zupan at toni.zupan@asm.ca.gov.  Also attached are the analysis for AB-1641 (with a listing of opposing organizations) and the analysis for last year’s AB-61 (same legislation, different number)

 

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)

 

New poll shows strong support for raising ‘Google Bus’ city fees

By : sfexaminer – excerpt

The second legal challenge to the program regulating “Google Buses” – formally known as commuter shuttles – is heading to the Board of Supervisors next week.

Anticipating this public debate, the Bay Area Council released a glowing public poll Wednesday morning, showing strong public support for these private shuttles.

“The Bay Area Council has seen shuttles as a very positive development on the transportation scene,” said Adrian Covert, policy director at the council, whose members include many local businesses.

In an interview, the council noted the benefits of taking as many as 60 cars off the road per shuttle bus.

“You can bet getting two million car trips off the road every year is going to have an important environmental benefit,” said Rufus Jeffris, a spokesman for the council.

But the poll of likely voters also shows the public strongly backs raising fees on the commuter shuttles – a point of contention from critics of the Commuter Shuttle Program, the formal name of the regulations of private corporate shuttles in San Francisco…

Critics filed a legal environmental challenge of the permanent shuttle program, which the Board of Supervisors will weigh in on next week. The Coalition for Fair, Legal and Environmental Transit, SEIU Local 1021, and citizens Sue Vaughan and Bob Planthold filed the challenge through their attorney, Rebecca Davis…  (more)

CASTRO RESIDENTS UPSET OVER TECH BUS STOP LOCATION

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)