San Francisco taxi drivers prepare for first-in-the-nation Uber partnership

By Benjamin Schneider : sfexaminer – excerpt

Uber and taxis have long been mortal enemies. But now, disruptor and disrupted are joining forces in the hopes that each can provide what the other lacks: more drivers for Uber and more business for taxis.

San Francisco’s first-in-the-nation program will allow riders to book taxi rides directly on the Uber app with the same user experience as booking an UberX. Though details are still being ironed out, the program is expected to begin in the coming weeks. Taxi drivers are waiting with excitement … or trepidation.

“The ability for taxi drivers to access all those customers they lost, that is a huge change. It’s almost like it’s come full circle,” said Hansu Kim, president of Flywheel Technologies, a San Francisco-based taxi booking platform that’s partnering with Uber. “This is the future. It’s going to be a collaborative effort between ride shares and taxis.”…(more)

Station fire delays Central Subway completion

By Jerold Chinn : sfbayca – excerpt

The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency’s Central Subway Project is facing yet another delay, this time caused by a fire last month at the Yerba Buena/Moscone station.

Jonathan Rewers, the SFMTA’s acting chief financial officer, said Tuesday at the agency’s Board of Directors meeting that the fire’s impact will push the project completion date out by six to eight weeks. He said the agency is still planning for revenue service this fall. Rewers revealed the news in the director’s report, filling in for SFMTA Director of Transportation Jeffrey Tumlin, who is in London for the C40 Climate Summit.

A failed electric component sparked the June 20 fire, Rewers said. Specifically, a switchgear surge arrester part caused the fire inside the circuit breaker cubicle. SFBay previously reported that there were no injuries and that trains being tested in that portion of the subway were not damaged…(more)

Letters to the Editor: Prioritize people over cars? Only if transit prioritizes people too

Las Angles Times readers : yahoo – excerpt

To the editor: I agree with The Times Editorial Board that we should not prioritize cars over people. However, prioritizing people means that mass transit will have to be massively improved before it serves people as it should. That means reliable, frequent, clean and safe…

To the editor: People who use cars are people. Ensuring that they do not park blocks away from home or work is a benefit to more people than just the driver.

Before you decree that reducing onsite parking requirements will get people out of cars, please explore some multi-family neighborhoods. Even buildings that comply with codes requiring one or two spaces per unit flood adjoining streets with cars, because more than one or two drivers per unit need a car to get to work. How will you change that?…

To the editor: Your editorial relies on the assertions that housing “near” transit doesn’t need parking and that parking requirements are “based on the idea that everyone will drive everywhere all the time.”…

To the editor: You state that housing should be the state’s highest priority. I disagree. Water should be the state’s highest priority.…(more)

SFMTA: Permanent adaptive cycling program unveiled in Golden Gate Park

masstransit – excerpt (from SFMTA)

The free program matches people with disabilities to adaptive bicycles by advance reservation.

The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) partnered with San Francisco Recreation & Parks (Rec and Park) and the Bay Area Outreach and Recreation Program (BORP) to launch a permanent adaptive cycling program that will serve Golden Gate Park and the Great Highway.

The free program matches people with disabilities to adaptive bicycles by advance reservation. The BORP Cycling Center hosts a large collection of adaptive bikes, including handcycles, recumbent bikes, side-by-side tandems and other models. The program serves children, youth and adults with physical and sensory disabilities, as well as their family and friends…(more)

Uber broke laws, duped police and secretly lobbied governments, leak reveals

by Harry Davies, Simon Goodley, Felicity Lawrence, Paul Lewis and Lisa O’Carroll : theguardian – excerpt

The Uber files. Leak of documents to the Guardian reveals inside story of tech giant’s expansion. Illustration: Guardian Design

A leaked trove of confidential files has revealed the inside story of how the tech giant Uber flouted laws, duped police, exploited violence against drivers and secretly lobbied governments during its aggressive global expansion.

The unprecedented leak to the Guardian of more than 124,000 documents – known as the Uber files – lays bare the ethically questionable practices that fuelled the company’s transformation into one of Silicon Valley’s most famous exports.

The leak spans a five-year period when Uber was run by its co-founder Travis Kalanick, who tried to force the cab-hailing service into cities around the world, even if that meant breaching laws and taxi regulations.

During the fierce global backlash, the data shows how Uber tried to shore up support by discreetly courting prime ministers, presidents, billionaires, oligarchs and media barons…(more)

Executives with god complexes need to be exposed and either deposed or taken down a peg. As Boris Johnson famously said recently, “no politician is irreplaceable.” That got for executives too. The fatter the head, the less realistic the approach and the business suffered from megalomaniac tendencies.

Related stories on PBS and the news outlets

MTC July 13 Programming and Allocations Committee meeting

SUPPORT DTX FOR LEVEL 1 PRIORITY

WEDNESDAY, JULY 13, 2022, 9:45 AM (Item 5b: 10:30 am with public comments at 11:00 am). MTC (Metropolitan Transportation Commission) is considering downgrading DTX (Downtown Caltrain Extension) from Level 1 to Level 2 priority—which would jeopardize federal funding. Support DTX as the highest regional priority—to bring long-promised Caltrain to the Salesforce Transit Center. More info and major arguments below. ZOOM LINK: https://bayareametro.zoom.us/j/85868739599

DTX IS LEGALLY MANDATED: DTX is the highest regional transportation priority, mandated by SF voters with overwhelming passage of Proposition H (1999) and prioritized by the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) for federal funding cycles. The project is environmentally-cleared. The underground station box has already been built. DTX will connect Caltrain to six Muni lightrail lines, four BART lines and more than 40 multi-agency bus lines at a centralized transportation hub. By 2025, 300,000 cars a day will be entering San Francisco from the South—more than the combined number of cars on the Golden Gate and Bay Bridges. DTX is the top priority to cut traffic congestion on highways, the Embarcadero, streets and arterials.

SF STANDARD: The Best Time to Build the Downtown Extension Was Decades Ago. The Second-Best Time Is Now. https://sfstandard.com/perspectives/perspective-the-best-time-to-build-the-downtown-extension-was-decades-ago-the-second-best-time-is-now/ The proposed extension of Caltrain Downtown to the Salesforce Transit Center will close the gap. The Downtown Rail Extension (DTX) is the single most important unfunded transit project in the Bay Area and the one missing link with potential to take the region’s transit network from good to great.

***

Letter of support from Lily Madjus Wu, of Transbay Joint Powers Authority

Dear DTX stakeholders:

On Wednesday, July 13, the MTC Programming and Allocations (PAC) committee is discussing Item # 5b, Major Project Advancement Policy, which update the projects under Reso 3434 (which DTX has been on for over a decade) using Plan Bay Area 2050 projects to arrive at an updated list of endorsed projects for State and Federal funding. The PAC is the third meeting happening that morning. Meetings start at 935am but our item probably wont be heard until after 11am.

Here’s the meeting agenda: https://mtc.legistar.com/LegislationDetail.aspx?ID=5719012&GUID=16D8D352-06ED-4E18-AFCF-9E2A537BD366&Options=&Search=. Enclosed is the staff report that contains the funding matrix and list of projects to be endorsed, which was initially shared.

Providing the long overview and background for your reference below.

The Major Project Advancement Policy (MAP) includes DTX as one of five Plan Bay Area 2050 endorsed projects.
However, DTX is listed as a level 2 project instead of a level 1 project due to the required criterion that it needs to show over 50% committed funds or it has received a full-funding grant agreement (FFGA) from the Federal Transit Administration. The proposed assignment of DTX to level 2 puts the project’s federal funding strategy and implementation plan in peril.

The DTX is recognized as a Federal SAFETEA-LU Project of National and Regional Significance, has been formally admitted to Project Development by the FTA in the New Starts process and is on track to submit for Engineering in February 2023, cleared all federal and state environmental requirements in 2019, and is nearing completion of several key milestones such as selecting the project delivery method, completing a governance study, and securing agreements with our agency partners. With these milestones in place or nearing completion, it is critical that we secure funding to both meet our required matching funds and to secure portions of the right of way and begin early preconstruction work.

Thus, we respectfully ask for the MTC’s support and inclusion of DTX in Level 1 in the MAP proposed projects list so that we have MTC’s endorsement to secure a total of $1.5 billion in matching funds prior to submitting our planned FTA request for rating in August 2023. We believe the project deserves to be included in Level 1 based on the following:

1. DTX is Project Ready – the DTX project has been environmentally cleared since 2019 and has received its FTA Record of Decision in 2019. It is in the FTA CIG pipeline in the Project Development phase (the first step to preparing to ask for a FFGA), which positions it to receive up to half of the total project’s costs (about $2.5b of the estimated cost) if we can meet our $1.5 billion required local match share by August 2023. Securing these matching funds leverages billions of federal dollars and allows the project to advance through the FTA process and begin advance work like relocating utilities and securing the remaining right of way.

2. Completion of a larger project within the Transbay Program – With the completion and operation of the $2.3 billion Salesforce Transit Center, Phase 1 of the Program has been completed. Originally conceived and approved by voters as a singular project, the DTX project will complete the Program through its second phase. Taken as a single project and including more than $800 million in existing, committed funds for Phase 2, the combined Phase 1 and Phase 2 project has secured 42 percent of its total costs and is at a critical stage to secure the remainder. This isnt shown on the funding matrix as MTC is considering DTX as a standalone project without the Center. Including DTX in Level 1 will allow the project to compete for these key matching funds and complete two key USDOT investments in the Bay Area: Caltrain electrification (as a project in the FTA CIG pipeline) and the two-story trainbox found under the Center (made possible by 2010 ARRA funding).

3. DTX is a longstanding legacy regional project – For over 30 years, DTX has been an established regional priority project. We have a historic opportunity to deliver this project, which has been on the Bay Area’s regional priority list to deliver since 1988 in MTC ’s Resolution 1876 and most recently MTC’s Resolution 3434 and included in the last several Regional Transportation Plans (Plan Bay Area).

4. Cost Increase Implications – delaying DTX will result in further cost increase. With the current funding opportunities on the State and Federal levels, we can collectively work together to deliver this essential regional project by 2031. With state and federal funds for transit infrastructure at historic levels, there is no better time to deliver on the region’s long held transportation priorities. Missing this funding window would call into question the viability of conventional gauge rail through downtown San Francisco and would add approximately $350 million of cost escalation for every year of delay if we were even able to achieve it in future years.

Thanks,
lm

Lily Madjus Wu
Communications and Legislative Affairs Director
Transbay Joint Powers Authority
425 Mission Street, Suite 250
San Francisco, CA 94105
lmadjuswu
415-597-4039
www.tjpa.org

Transit First Policy – Driving is a Bad Thing.

You have to go back to the foundation – namely, the foundation for San Francisco’s “transit first” policy, that driving is a bad thing… always

Transit is “good,” therefore, the City should be doing everything it can to get people to shift from driving to transit.

The problem is, of course, is that it impossible to make transit work much better for the vast majority of trips, so, for transit to be more competitive (actually, somewhat less non-competitive) with driving, the only option (other than throwing ever-more incredible amounts of money at transit with both hands) is to make driving worse.

This has two major factors, cost and time – and, time IS a cost.  For cost, increase the price of gasoline, mainly through higher taxes, but also by requiring every-“cleaner” fuels; high prices for parking, tolls, VMT charges replacing (or on top of) cents/gallon, etc.  As to time, make sure that you never, never, never add any road capacity – in fact, take it away – reduce speed limits, advocate “complete streets” (which, by design, are much slower), and reducing parking, which will force longer walks.

There is pretty solid consensus that there are two things that could work – and HAVE worked – to reduce travel time and traffic congestion, and, interestingly enough, they can actually be used in a complementary manner, rather than either/or.  One is various types of congestion charges and the other is really pushing remote work/education/shopping/social/etc.  MTC is pushing hard on Express Lanes, which is a logical step towards total vehicle-miles traveled/congestion charging for all roads/all lanes, which I generally support, but, from long experience, I am VERY scared at how MTC and the other players could screw this up.  I will give MTC staff credit, they worked very hard to put in a major requirement for remote work and were about to get the Commission to approve it – until two major power players got together to get the big city mayors to veto it.  One anti- group was the big developers, because, it half the people who are now in offices don’t do that any more, the need for new huge buildings is going to take a hit.  The other was the Bay Area transit agencies, who argued that the loss of riders would do them great harm.

Think about that last one – NOT do harm to people who need to make connections, who would sign on from home rather than drive or take a bus, train, or ferry, just stay at home.  No hour or two a day in travel, no payment to do that travel, obviously reduce GHG and other emissions quite a bit, but harm to the transit agency.  They’d have to lay off people, get rid of vehicles – my heavens, that could even lead to lower taxes!!!

(No, that would never happen, of course.)

Tom Rubin

Letter from Supervisor Mar to SFMTA

Mar objects to the plans SFMTA has to stop the L-Taraval Line at West Portal forcing riders to get off and switch to a bus line to access downtown. Mar writes:

“We’ve been negotiating with SFMTA in good faith for months to preserve full-route service for the L-Taraval. They have made no effort to meet what I feel is a reasonable request, and intend to move forward with their plan to end L-Taraval bus service at West Portal, beginning tomorrow, requiring all riders to disembark and transfer to make an ordinary downtown trip. I believe this plan is inequitable, and the process leading to it potentially unlawful, and yesterday I sent the attached letter to SFMTA leadership again requesting they change course.”

Read the letter : 22-07-07 Mar Letter to Tumlin

Scathing new city report repudiates Lee, Breed policies on Uber, Lyft

By Tim Redmond : 48hills – excerpt

Planners say TNCs have caused terrible problems because the city didn’t regulate them. Plus, on housing: It’s capitalism, stupid.

The San Francisco Planning Commission today discussed, if only briefly, a stunning new report from the Planning Department on Uber, Lyft, and other so-called Transportation Network Companies.

The report, which you can read here, directly repudiates the policies of former Mayor Ed Lee and, at least in the early days of her term, Mayor London Breed.

It lays out in exceptional detail how the TNCs have deeply damaged the city and how the city’s failure to regulate these companies has been a terrible failure…

Among other things, the report says, 50 percent of the increased congestion on city streets is due to the TNCs, which include delivery companies as well as Uber and Lyft, and these companies are seriously undermining the city’s ability to meet its climate goals

Uber has acknowledged it must compete with public transportation to grow. The company wrote in its registration filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission in 2019 that its “growth depends on a number of factors, including our ability to …reduce the costs of our Personal Mobility offering to better compete with … other low-cost alternatives like public transportation, which in many cases can be faster or cheaper than any other form of transportation.”…(more)

Amazing how long it took for the city department to find a way to admit what many of us knew and wrote about for years. Early articles and independent observers warned about Related Inc. claims in their marketing materials take taking resident parking would displace people by forcing car owner out, making up-zoning and gentrification easier in the neighborhood they targeted in New York. It worked as promised there and is on track to work in San Francisco.

It is high time someone acknowledges what many of us warned against years ago. TNCs have created havoc on San Francisco streets and put the taxi companies out of business. Will anyone at City Hall consider taking actions now to reverse the damage they have done? Will the city investigate the tech shuttle buses soon? How many passengers are they really carrying?

RELATED:

What do MTC, Ford GoBikes, Motivate LLC and Related Real Estate have in common and why bring it up now?
https://metermadness.wordpress.com/2018/04/23/what-do-mtc-ford-gobikes-motivate-llc-and-related-real-estate-have-in-common-and-why-bring-it-up-now/ Metropolitan Transportation Commission,(MTC) signed an agreement with Motivate LLC that created a public/private partnership in 2015. BAY AREA BIKE SHARE PROGRAM AGREEMENT between METROPOLITAN TRANSPORTATION COMMISSION and BAY AREA MOTIVATE, LLC Or download it here: Program_Agreement

Holding Company behind Motivate is Bikeshare Holdings LLC. By most counts this is not a neighborhood friendly organization.
https://metermadness.wordpress.com/2017/08/30/holding-company-behind-motivate-is-bikeshare-holdings-llc-by-most-counts-this-is-not-a-neighborhood-friendly-organization/