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)

 

 

 

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