Plague of Muni train switchbacks in Bayview may finally be ‘eliminated’

By Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez : sfexaminer – excerpt

Imagine riding a train home only to have it stop suddenly. The operator activates the loudspeaker and asks everyone to disembark, just so the train can swing around and pick up more passengers at the beginning of the line in a wealthier neighborhood.

Welcome to the dreaded “switchback.”

Ask any Bayview Muni rider, and they’ll tell you: switchbacks are more than a nuisance, they’re a plague, and the bane of any T-Third rider just trying to get home at night.

Now switchbacks will finally be “eliminated,” said incoming Supervisor Shamann Walton.

“It’s been overdue,” Walton told the San Francisco Examiner, Thursday. “We’re hard at work on this, it’s coming.”… (more)

Best news we have heard from Muni in a long time. Best possible improvement they could make. Hope the new supervisor can work on this with the new Muni Director to make it happen fast.

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SFMTA needs new leaders, says LGBT Dem club

by Matthew S. Bajko : ebar – excerpt

Leaders of the Alice B. Toklas LGBT Democratic Club are calling on San Francisco Mayor London Breed to replace longtime board members overseeing the city’s transit agency.

In a January 6 letter the club sent to Breed, Alice co-chairs Gina Simi and Eric Lukoff wrote that “now is the time for new leadership on the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) Board of Directors.”

They called on those members serving for four years or longer to “step down to make room for new leadership and members who frequent Muni — and are therefore familiar with the system and would have more of a stake in the agency’s success.”

They applauded Breed for sending SFMTA Director Ed Reiskin a letter in July, shortly after taking over Room 200 at City Hall, expressing grave concerns with how the agency was being run. But they noted there has been “little follow up” since… (more)

Send your comments to the source and write the mayor and your supervisors to suggest the changes you would like to see on the SFMTA Board and let them know how you feel about Ed Reisikin. Contacts are changing with the new Board. Watch this page for updates: https://sfbos.org

After taking on taxis, ride-share services now challenging public transit in U.S.

By Clyde Hughes : upi – excerpt

Jan. 8 (UPI) — While taxi companies have long complained about ride-share services like Uber and Lyft cutting into their business, ride-hailing may be eating away at a new victim — public transit.

In some of the largest cities in the United States and around the world, public ridership is falling in areas where ride-sharing services are on the rise. In cities like New York City, which just landed a future location for Amazon new East Coast headquarters, there’s been a noticeable drop in subway and bus riders — while ride-sharing picked up nearly 15 percent in one year…

“The actual amounts of riders added to for-hire vehicle-taxi market is strikingly similar to the same number of riders we see [declining] in subways and buses,” Mulligan told the NYC Transit board recently. “This is the best analysis and evidence that we have to date, of not just a correlation between for-hire-vehicle growth and subway ridership decline, but causation.”…. (more)

RELATED:

Uber races Lyft in filing for 2019 stock market debut

Dec. 8 (UPI) — Uber filed paperwork this week for an initial public offering setting up a race with competitor Lyft to be the first to go public, reports indicate.

The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times both reported Friday, citing unnamed sources, that the ride-hailing company confidentially filed the paperwork this week, signaling that it could enter the market in the first quarter of 2019… (more)

Engineers Approve Repair Plan For Transbay Terminal Cracked Beams

Authorities with the Transbay Transit center in San Francisco have approval from an independent expert review panel on their plan of a repair of those cracked beams that forced the center’s closure last year, but the reopening date is still uncertain.

The repair plan, presented last month to the governing board of the authority, involves bolting new steel plates to the top and bottom of the cracked beams.

Christine Falvey, spokeswoman for the Transbay authority, said steel is now on order to complete the repair of the cracks, which NBC Bay Area’s investigative unit reported were caused when crews cut holes into the four inch thick steel in the steel base of the beams… (more)

Steel plates to reinforce cracked beams under Transit Center repair plan

By Laura Waxmann : sfexaminer – excerpt

Plans have been approved to repair fractured beams at the temporarily shuttered Salesforce Transit Center by reinforcing them with steel plates, Transbay Joint Powers Authority officials said Friday.

The repair plans were reviewed and approved last month by a peer review panel of the Metropolitan Transportation Commission, which is also developing recommendations guiding additional inspections at the center prior. No date has been set for the center to reopen… (more)

 

After transbay fare hike, it can be cheaper to drive than ride AC Transit

By Rachel Swan : sfchronicle – excerpt

The cost to take an AC Transit bus across the Bay Bridge jumped to $5.50 Tuesday, which means that at some times of day, bus passengers will pay more than people who drive.

It’s the first of three increases over five years, intended to pay for service improvements and capital costs at the Transbay Transit Center, which has been closed since September. Fares shot up by a dollar Tuesday and will rise by 50 cents next year, and another 50 cents in 2022, bringing the price then to $6.50… (more)

It is one step forward and another back for commuters on AC Transit.

With BART, bridges and highways jammed, ferries’ popularity swells in Bay Area

By Rachel Swan : sfchronicle – excerpt

As recently as 10 years ago, ferries were still a novelty in the region — old-fashioned, diesel-belching beasts that drew tourists, but didn’t serve many weekday commuters. That’s all changed as BART chokes with standing-room crowds and more people seek alternatives to perpetually snarled freeways. The Bay Area is now the third biggest market for ferries in the country behind Seattle and New York City. It seems the future of mass transit includes more of the ambling boats of the past…

“For five years, we’ve had year-over-year growth, and now we’re maxed out,” said Priya Clemens, spokeswoman for the Golden Gate Bridge Highway and Transportation District, which oversees the Larkspur ferry…

The downside is crowding, which creates a quandary for Golden Gate Ferry, the boat-operating arm of the bridge district.

Next year, Golden Gate may increase the number of daily trips out of Larkspur, which now stands at 42. The proposed service boost may become more urgent next year because it coincides with a planned extension of the North Bay SMART train to a new stop in Larkspur. Once that stop opens, it will likely send more commuters flocking to the Larkspur ferry… (more)

 

Legal battle over new Bay Area bridge toll hikes could stall region’s transit projects

By Kevin Fixler : pressdemocrat – excerpt

Commuters will pay an extra $1 to cross the Bay Area’s seven state-owned bridges come Jan. 1, as part of a voter-approved measure to raise money for major transit upgrades. But the improvements could be delayed after state and transportation officials were hit with an unanticipated legal roadblock, preventing release of hundreds of millions of dollars for cash-strapped road projects, including a North Bay Highway 101 widening.

The Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association, a statewide taxpayers’ rights advocacy group, filed a lawsuit in July against the California Legislature and the Bay Area Toll Authority, arguing the ballot measure allowing $3 in bridge toll hikes over the next six years constitutes a tax rather than a fee. Therefore, the group contends, Regional Measure 3 should have met the state requirement of two-thirds majority for approval, instead of the 55 percent support it received from voters across the Bay Area’s nine counties.

The legal complaint, filed in San Francisco Superior Court, was amended in October, and a date has yet to be set for the case… (more)

SF transportation agency gives private buses illegal access to transit-only lanes

By Sue Vaughan : 48hills – excerpt

The Google buses shouldn’t be in the red lanes, for a long list of reasons. Why is SF letting that happen?

The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency is getting the rules of the road all wrong and the agency needs to fix its mistakes.

In recent years that agency — the SFMTA — has been creating more and more transit-only lanes. Some of these lanes are painted red, but not all of them are. The agency has consistently, in email after email and presentation after presentation, marketed these lanes to the public as a means to speed up Muni.

However, it appears that on March 28, 2014, two months after the seven unelected members of the SFMTA Board of Directors passed legislation to create the controversial Commuter Shuttle Pilot Program and Policy, permitting private tech shuttles (“Google” buses) to use public bus stops, the directors started passing legislation permitting “buses” access to transit-only lanes

State law defines “bus” and “transit bus” differently. A “bus” is a vehicle that carries more than 10 people, including the driver. A “transit bus” is a vehicle that is owned or operated by or on behalf of a publicly owned transit system to provide general public transit.

So while a transit bus fits the definition of a bus, not all buses fit the definition of a transit bus…

At the local level, the 11 elected members of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors have codified the distinction between transit vehicles and everything else – emphasizing that lack of ambiguity. In 2008, the supervisors passed Section 7.2.72 of the San Francisco Transportation Code making it an infraction for non-transit vehicles to operate in transit-only lanes. In that section of the code, the Board of Supervisors were explicit: transit-only lanes are for public transit-only vehicles. The seven unelected members of the San Francisco Board of Directors have no legal power to preempt the 11 elected members of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors…

at a December 3 hearing sponsored by Supervisor Sandra Fewer, staff from the SFMTA admitted that they were essentially clueless about the potential impact of allowing unlimited numbers of private buses to compete with Muni’s 800-plus vehicles in transit-only lanes… (more)

 

 

 

’Tis the Season to Share the Ride

mtc – excerpt

MTC and its Bay Area partners have launched several new Bay Area promotions to encourage Bay Area travelers to share the ride. “It’s the season for sharing, so share a ride and be rewarded in more ways than one,” said Barbara Laurenson, manager of MTC’s carpool program.

MTC’s recently established Bay Area Vanpool Program is offering direct subsidies to new and existing vanpools, thanks to an infusion of over $9.5 million approved by MTC  in July of 2018 for the next five years. “Vanpooling is a good option for commuters traveling 40 miles or more each way and who have pretty regular schedules,” said Lloyd Nadal, program manager for Solano County, where many of the region’s vanpools originate. Qualifying vanpools that rent their vehicles through Enterprise (the preferred vendor for the Vanpool Program) can now reduce the cost of their monthly van rates by $350, courtesy of MTC. Vanpool groups can apply for subsidies at Commute With Enterprise. Vanpoolers can pay for their remaining vanpool costs with pretax dollars, further reducing the cost of their shared commute… (more)

Why are carpools and car shares so unpopular? For years government has been trying to entice people into carpool lanes and car shares, but, for some reason, not many people bite, even when it means driving in crowded slower lanes, and paying higher tolls to drive solo.

Financial incentives haven’t made much difference either. One of the local TV news teams set up competition to see who got some faster using various means of transportation, and the slowest commute was the attempt to pick up a ride at a casual car share station. Nobody stopped to pick anyone up.

There has to be a reason that is eluding the transit professionals. Could it be a general distrust of strangers? Could it be that fear is the motivating factor that keeps people in their cars? Is the need to feel in control of one’s own destiny is more important than saving time and money? Is putting oneself in the hands of an unreliable system that breaks down daily too much to ask?

BART Warns Commuters About 3-Year Cuts To Early Morning Service

By Holly Quan : kcbsradio – excerpt (in cludes audio)

OAKLAND — Early morning commuters are getting an early warning from BART that starting in February the first trains won’t start rolling until 5 a.m., an hour later than now.

The schedule change will affect commuters for the next three and a half years as the transit agency conducts seismic retrofitting of the Transbay Tube.

Roughly 3,000 riders regularly use BART during the hour of service that’s poised to be eliminated… (more)

One of the best reasons to not vote for any more transit bonds is to avoid these cutbacks. The more money they get the worse the service is.