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.

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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)

The Teamsters Take on Tech Shuttle Unions

By Julia Carrie Wong : sfweekly – excerpt

When the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency’s controversial pilot program to allow Google buses (and Yahoo buses and Apple buses and Facebook buses) to use Muni stops for a small fee went before the SFMTA board in January 2014, neither Google, Yahoo, Apple, nor Facebook showed up to speak in defense of their commuter programs. The titans of Silicon Valley rarely stoop to conquer local regulatory bodies. Instead, the strongest voice in favor of tech shuttles that day came from Bauer’s Intelligent Transportation, the luxury bus and limousine company founded by Novato-born Gary Bauer in 1989. Over the course of the contentious hearing, representatives from Bauer’s touted their company as an important job provider to working class San Franciscans.

Bauer’s enjoys a cozy relationship with San Francisco’s political establishment. A Bauer’s VP stood behind Mayor Ed Lee when Lee announced the shuttle program in 2014, emails later revealed that Bauer’s believed it had a “handshake agreement” with the SFMTA to use Muni stops free of charge for the 10 years prior to the Google bus backlash, and Bauer’s buses ferried attendees at this year’s US Conference of Mayors from the Hilton to a tour of Uber’s headquarters. (Bauer’s did not respond to inquiries for this story.)

But that relationship is about to be tested by the Teamsters union, which is determined to ensure that the jobs created by tech shuttle companies are union jobs…

It’s a major vindication for the Teamster’s that on Aug. 21, the NLRB filed a petition for a 10(j) against Bauer’s, alleging that the company was guilty of the “unlawful foisting upon its employees of a textbook, sham ‘company union.'” The NLRB’s petition accuses Bauer’s of “making a mockery” of workers’ rights, describes the PCDU as a “charade,” and criticizes Bauer’s “carefully orchestrated scheme to prevent unionization.”

According to the petition, Bauer’s acted on the advice of its legal counsel, which explained to Bauer’s how to go about forming a company union. A Bauer’s supervisor, Clarence Murdock, persuaded employees to sign a blank piece of paper, “not disclosing that their signatures would be used to furnish a veneer of legitimacy to Bauer’s recognition” of the faux-union. Bauer’s then recognized the union and imposed a collective bargaining agreement — without any input from the workers supposedly being represented.

These charges come, not from the union, but from a federal agency, which states that “the facts overwhelmingly demonstrate” violations of the law by Bauer’s.

“Bauer knew a union campaign was inevitable, and sought an alternative he could control,” the petition states.

That may sound like John D. Rockefeller, but Gary Bauer is no John D. Rockefeller.

As for the Teamsters, at the SFMTA meeting, Doug Bloch warned the board members: “This fight is coming to Muni stops. It doesn’t look like it’s going away, and we’re not going away.”… (more)

Fee Increase for Commuter Tech Shuttles Using SF Muni Stops Approved

By Bay City News : nbcbayarea – excerpt

Companies using San Francisco city bus stops to pick up and drop off passengers on commuter shuttles will have to pay more than triple the cost to the city.

The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency board of directors voted to approve a fee increase from $1 per stop per day to $3.55 after realizing that the cost of enforcing the pilot program was more than originally anticipated.

The new fee would take effect later this year and rise to $3.67 next year.

The pilot program, which went into effect on July 1, allows companies operating shuttle buses to use San Francisco Municipal Railway bus stops for a fee to limit the impact of the shuttles on city bus service… (more)

 

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)

SFMTA Set to Regulate Tech Company Shuttles

by Anna Duckworth : sanfrancisco.cbslocal – excerpt

rivate tech company buses and shuttles that have been using San Francisco Municipal Railway bus stops could soon have to follow some new rules as the city’s transportation agency board is set to decide on proposed regulations in January.
The San Francisco Metropolitan Transportation Agency said the private shuttles and buses carry about 35,000 workers a day to and from companies like Google, Facebook and Genentech using more than 200 Muni stops around the city…
pilot program could start early next year depending on the outcome of the board’s vote next month…. (more)