SF bikeshare fleet set to nearly quadruple — but Lyft is trying to stop it

By Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez : sfexaminer – excerpt

Bikeshare — everywhere.

That’s the vision for San Francisco’s burgeoning bike rental industry.

The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency on Tuesday released permit applications for more companies to provide “dockless” or “stationless” bikeshare in The City, citing soaring demand for the service.

The announcement means the number of bikeshare bikes on the street could soon nearly quadruple to 11,000, according to the SFMTA. The agency plans to announce who will be awarded permits by July…

In that April 28 letter, Lyft President and co-founder John Zimmer argued that the company “invested millions of dollars to install bike station infrastructure” that resulted in “losses that were incurred in reliance upon the Grant of Exclusive Rights.”

Zimmer invited SFMTA to a “dispute resolution process” through the Metropolitan Transportation Commission, and asked that “San Francisco refrain from taking actions that would prejudice” those proceedings, including “soliciting or accepting new permit applications from other operators.”… (more)

Why don’t the bike share companies rent some of the empty storefronts that are popping up all over town instead of casually parking them on sidewalks and streets. Just rent some storefronts and act like regular bike rentals. What is the point in having them clutter up the sidewalk when they could rent storefronts and let people drop them there. They will be a lot safer than on the streets.

L.A. may tax Uber and Lyft rides to curb traffic congestion

By Laura J. Nelson : latimes – excerpt

Transportation officials are considering a tax on Uber and Lyft rides in Los Angeles County, saying the Bay Area tech companies don’t pay their fair share to maintain public streets and exacerbate congestion in a traffic-choked region.

The ride-hailing fee is in the early stages of discussion at the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, along with more than a dozen other strategies to manage congestion and fund transportation projects before the 2028 Olympic Games.

Metro’s board of directors are scheduled to vote Thursday on whether to approve a study of the ride-hailing tax. The directors also will consider approving a study on congestion pricing, which would analyze the effects of converting more carpool lanes to toll lanes, taxing drivers on the number of miles they travel, or charging a fee for motorists to enter certain neighborhoods… (more)

Uber and the Ongoing Erasure of Public Life

By Nikil Saval : newyorker – excerpt

Uber has become a subsidized alternative to the public-transportation systems that it claims to support.

Last September, Uber rolled out a rebranding campaign. A new television commercial showed car doors being flung open and the young and the old crowding in, flying out, and ending up in a small open-air mercado or at a lake. Though there were a few drivers, the image presented was of ceaseless, liberating mobility for passengers, anywhere in the world. Uber changed its logo, too, to a demure sans-serif display—white against a black background, its only flourish a modest pair of mirrored stems attached to the “U” and the “b.” This was a significant change. Since 2016, the phone app and the stickers that identified Uber-enabled cars had enjoyed an image designed partly by the co-founder and then-C.E.O. Travis Kalanick: a circle bisected with a cord, placed against the background of a colorful tile. When tilted ninety degrees counterclockwise, some design and technology journalists noted, it looked unmistakably like a human bent over and seen from behind.

The era of what has been referred to as Uber’s “asshole” logo happened to coincide with the company’s longest stretch of bad press, including multiple reports of sexual abuse inside the company and by its drivers. In 2017, the company’s investors ousted Kalanick. His successor, Dara Khosrowshahi, has made considerable efforts to improve the company’s image in advance of a likely I.P.O. this year. Last October, Khosrowshahi, like many corporate leaders, pulled out of a summit held by Saudi Arabia’s crown prince, in Riyadh, following the murder of the journalist Jamal Khashoggi. (Uber still benefits from vast infusions of Saudi funding.)… (more)

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Will a “front door” help San Francisco steer the stampede of emerging technologies testing on its streets?

By Hannah Norman : bizjournals – excerpt

Electric scooters. Delivery robots. Uber and Lyft. Even the soon-to-be shuttered van service Chariot started operating without the approval of San Francisco, with city policies as a secondary thought.

Now San Francisco, which has been ground zero for many emerging technologies, is looking to better keep tabs on the various startups keen on testing or operating their new products in the city. After six months of meetings attended by representatives from over 100 companies, city agencies, think tanks and community organizations, a new report was released Thursday by the Emerging Technology Open Working Group, led by city administrator Naomi Kelly.

“It is clear that technology is part of the social fabric of life in San Francisco,” the report says. “Yet as keepers of the public right-of-way and other public spaces, we must develop appropriate policy measures to mitigate risks and unintended impacts on San Franciscans and our infrastructure.”

The report will next be presented to city’s board of supervisors, likely sometime in January, followed by a hearing… (more)

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Lyft becomes nation’s biggest bike share provider with latest acquisition

By : bizjournals – excerpt

MissionReds

Who should get to drive in the public transit Red Lanes?

Lyft is now the largest bike share provider in the country.

Doubling down on transportation efforts outside of cars, Lyft said Thursday it completed its acquisition of Motivate, the company behind Ford GoBikes.

As part of the announcement, Lyft said it would also invest $100 million to expand the size of its fleet of Motivate Citi Bikes in New York City to over 40,000 bikes. But as Lyft goes full speed ahead with a massive expansion in New York City, a Lyft spokeswoman did not respond to questions about plans for a similar increase in the Bay Area.

Even if Lyft did elect to increase the number of bikes in San Francisco, it would probably face community resistance…

In addition to the Ford GoBikes already in the Bay Area, Lyft also plans to launch a branded set of bikes, complete with wheels that are Lyft’s signature bright pink. Lyft declined to give a specific date, but said those bikes will be coming to select cities in 2019. Would-be riders will be able to find Lyft Bikes directly inside the Lyft app. As the company readies for an IPO in 2019, the company is striving to become a one-stop-shop for multiple forms of transportation, including bikes, scooters and cars… (more)

If this corporate takeover of our streets concerns you, please join us in our effort to let the San Francisco City authorities know how you feel, December 3, 1:30 PM at City Hall to protest and demand a copy of the documents that obligate our city to hand over public street space to this corporate entity for their private use and profits.

Details here: https://metermadness.wordpress.com/actions/red-lanes/

Airports Take A Hit As Uber And Lyft Rise In Popularity

By Helen Storms : inquisitr – excerpt

Many are taking advantage of services like Uber and Lyft to avoid the stress of airports.

Uber, Lyft, and other similar transportation services are transforming the way people are traveling this holiday season. If you’ve had to take a flight recently, your first thought upon touching down was likely how to get out of the airport as quickly as possible. In the past, taking a cab was most people’s best option. That is, if they didn’t want to opt for public transportation. Now, Uber and Lyft is becoming the most popular way to escape the chaos of major airports. This is likely due to the convenience that these types of services offer. No more standing out in unpleasant weather trying to hail a cab. With this new technology, you can have a driver waiting to pick you up the minute you land. However, according to Wired, this new trend is causing a multitude of issues for airports… (more)

Looks like the Uber Lyfts are have taken on more than just the taxis. They are competing the old fashioned way, by cornering the market and the CPUC is helping them complete against the government entities by removing them from government regulation. Removal of government regulations has a familiar ring to it.

A new study says services like UberPool and Lyft Line are making traffic worse

By Faiz Siddiqui of The Washington Post : mercurynews – excerpt

The explosive growth of Uber and Lyft has created a new traffic problem for major U.S. cities and ride-sharing options such as UberPool and Lyft Line are exacerbating the issue by appealing directly to customers who would otherwise have taken transit, walked, biked or not used a ride-hail service at all, according to a new study.

The report by Bruce Schaller, author of the influential study, “Unsustainable?”, which found ride-hail services were making traffic congestion in New York City worse, constructs a detailed profile of the typical ride-hail user and issues a stark warning to cities: make efforts to counter the growth of ride-hail services, or surrender city streets to fleets of private cars, creating a more hostile environment for pedestrians and cyclists and ultimately make urban cores less desirable places to live.

Schaller concludes that where private ride options such as UberX and Lyft have failed on promises to cut down on personal driving and car ownership – both of which are trending up – pooled ride services have lured a different market that directly competes with subway and bus systems, while failing to achieve significantly better efficiency than their solo alternatives. The result: more driving overall.

Ride sharing has added 5.7 billion vehicle miles to nine major urban areas over six years, the report says, and the trend is “likely to intensify” as the popularity of the services surges. (The study notes that total ride-hailing trips in New York increased 72 percent from 2016 to 2017 and 47 percent in Seattle over that time. Revenue data from the D.C. Department of For-Hire Vehicles showed the ride-hailing industry’s growth quadrupled in the District from late 2015 to 2017.)

The nine cities studied were New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Boston, Washington, Miami, Philadelphia, San Francisco and Seattle..

.. (more)

Instead of admitting that the ride-hails are adding to the traffic, the EMERGING MOBILITY | EVALUATION REPORT put out for the SFCTA, blamed the TNCs for not releasing their data. One doesn’t need the TNC’s data to observe that the ride-hails pouring into the city from out of town to compete with all the pubic transit systems are private vehicles. Since they don’t park, but drive around waiting for a ride, there is bound to be more traffic on all the streets. There is an easy solution to that problem. Return the curbs back to the public.

Here is an idea of a pilot project: Remove the special the parking privileges for the TNCs. Return street parking to the public in some neighborhoods and see if more people driving themselves around and parking doesn’t result in less traffic and healthier retail stores. Once the ride-hails lose their customers, they will quit driving into town. That should clear some of the congestion off the bridges and highways, and maybe more people will switch back to public transportation, especially if the bus stops are left in place.

What Happens When a Company That Sells Car Trips Gets Into the Bike Trip Business?

By Ben Fried : streetsblog – excerpt

Lyft has acquired the nation’s largest bike-share company, setting up a situation where its bike trip sales will cannibalize its car trip sales.

Lyft, Uber’s smaller but gigantic-in-its-own-right competitor in the ride-hailing business, has acquired Motivate, the company that runs several of the largest bike-share systems in America. The price isn’t public yet, but unconfirmed earlier reports pegged it at $250 million. The new entity is called “Lyft Bikes.”

Lyft gets Motivate’s “current engineering, technology, marketing, communications, legal and supply chain capabilities as well as some human resources and finance functions,” according to a spokesperson. Lyft says the terms of contracts with local governments, including agreements with New York, Chicago, San Francisco and other large cities granting varying degrees of exclusivity, will not be affected…

This is a matter of dispute, that may be cause for legal action.

The optimist sees huge potential in the nation’s largest bike-share operator getting an infusion of capital…

The acquisition by Lyft could change this dynamicMotivate has yet to show what it can do with the dockless and electric-assist bicycles it’s been developing

The announcement yesterday renews Motivate’s relevance, with Lyft explicitly mentioning “dockless and pedal-assist electric bikes” as the type of “innovation” it intends to expedite…

The pessimistic take on the deal is that Lyft’s core businessselling car trips in cities — will put a ceiling on what it will do as a bike-share company. ..

I doubt that Lyft will enthusiastically try to convert its car trips to bike trips without some sort of prompt from policy makers. Bike-share is a very low-margin business. … (more)

As the author points out, there are many directions the company may take, and, since the future of bike stations is uncertain there is no reason to expand the most controversial bike-share programs that infuriates the public.

As one of the North Beach patrons asked when the Central Subway was being presented as an extendable program, “How can you aim a tunnel when you don’t know where it is going to end up?” We need to stop installing bike stations and see what the market does.

This matter will be addressed Tuesday at the SFCTA Meeting. around 10 AM in Room 250 at City Hall.  You may want to comment on Item 9 on the agenda – Adopt the Emerging Mobility Evaluation Report – ACTION*  resolutionenclosure  Including TNCs, on-demand, shared, ride-hails, autonomous vehicles, robots and drones – all those vehicles that are cluttering up the road that used to be full of our private vehicles. How many millions or billions of taxpayers dollars have gone into this failed system that was going to rid the city of cars?

Keep your letters going to the Board of Supervisors on this matter. We need to keep public funds out of the hands of these corporations that have informed us that they intend to take over our streets. Supervisor Cohen needs to hear from you as she is still supporting the Ford GoBikes, that are now the Lyft bikes. We also need to send a message to Supervisor Kim on that matter. NO MORE TAXPAYER FUNDS FOR CORPORATIONS. If they want to help low-income people they can do so with their own money.

RELATED:
Uber Poised to Make Investment in Lime Scooter-Rental Business

STOP THE CORPORATE TAKEOVER OF OUR STREETS.
Buy an electric scooter for #129 at Best Buy or a Moped for less than $400.

Lyft’s Big Bike-Share Buy Is About Ruling the Streets

By Aarian Marshal : wired – excerpt

Today, Lyft announced it has acquired North America’s largest bike-share operator, Motivate, for a reported $250 million. The move comes just three months after archrival Uber took over Jump Bicycles, a smaller and flashier dockless electric bike-share company, for $200 million. And thus, the urban transportation wars click into a higher gear, as the fight moves to the bike lane…

In a blog post, Lyft said it would take over Motivate’s technology and corporate functions, including, critically, its city contracts...

On its face, the acquisition of Motivate—which will be rebranded Lyft Bikes—makes a ton of sense. Ride-hailing companies are nervous that vehicles like cycles and scooters will cut into their business by giving people cheaper, traffic-free options for making short trips through dense areas. So instead of fighting these new modalities, the ride-hailing giants bought them out…

That could be the sort of advantage Lyft needs to dominate transportation across the city landscape, no matter your mode of choice. If, that is, it can answer a few pesky questions.

Relationships

Motivate has decade-long agreements with some of America’s biggest cities, including Boston, Chicago, New York, the District of Columbia, and the San Francisco Bay Area. Some of those (including New York, the Bay Area, and Boston) are exclusive, meaning no one else is allowed to operate a bike-share in the area…

Lyft says its acquisition won’t affect Motivate’s existing contracts.

But is that true? Uber also took a close look at Motivate before Lyft cut the check, and a source familiar with those negotiations says Uber worried those contracts left room for cities to renegotiate or even cancel exclusivity if control of the company changed hands…

 A spokesperson for the Bay Area’s transportation authority did not respond to specific questions about its contract with Motivate. …

it’s not crazy to think Lyft could use this new real estate to build what urban transportation nerds have dreamed about for years: “mobility hubs,” where riders switch between a bike and a car and the public bus and the subway. Could a station be a place to charge electric bikes and scooters and maybe even cars?…

Keep your eyes on the corners—and, of course, the limits of Motivate’s contacts, which probably limit what Lyft can do with these spaces... (more)

NOW is the time to DEMAND A PUBLIC HEARING.

ENUF already! Demand they stop removing pubic parking now. This is Airbnb on the streets. Merchants and residents are already having problems with delivery services with the curb parking that we have left now. We cannot afford to loss more curb parking.

Who is on the public’s side? Ask your supervisor and those running for the office in November what they plan to do about the privatization of our streets and the private contracts being signed by the SFMTA. Some supervisors have already taken a stand on our side. Thank them and ask them how you can resolve parking problems using Ordinance #180089.

RELATED:
GoBike expansion fuels neighborhood conflict as Lyft plans bikeshare growth
GM Preps for Robo-Taxis in San Francisco
City report says Uber and Lyft are hoarding vital transit data

 

 

 

 

Report recommends SF slash available taxis to save industry

By Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez : sfexaminer – excerpt

NBTaxis

Taxis in North Beach by zrants

San Francisco may slash the number of available taxi medallions — which dictates the number of cabs — by one-third, in a bid to “reinvigorate” the industry.

That’s one of a number of major recommendations released Wednesday from a respected taxi-industry consultant commissioned by the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, which regulates taxis but not ride-hails like Uber and Lyft.

It’s those tech titans that have the taxi industry and SFMTA concerned, as the old guard of drivers-for-hire lose significant ground in nearly every respect: There are twelve times more ride-hail trips across The City than taxi trips, according to city data, including lucrative rides to and from the San Francisco International Airport. To revitalize the industry in 2017 the SFMTA commissioned taxi industry expert Bruce Schaller, principal of Schaller Consulting, to analyze trends in San Francisco — and recommend a way out.

“How does the MTA as a regulator help the taxi industry innovate and step up?” Kate Toran, head of taxi services at SFMTA, told reporters in a press briefing Wednesday. That, she said, is the crux of this report… (more)