Yearslong halt for F Line streetcar draws outrage from Castro

by John Ferrannini : ebar – excerpt

Just as the historic streetcars are slated to resume service after being suspended during the COVID pandemic, a city plan to stop Muni’s F Line service to the Castro for up to four years is eliciting strong negative reactions in the neighborhood...(more)

No one can say the SFMTA does not excel in cutting service. It is one of their top talents. One must give them credit for that.

SFMTA’s poor track record on capital projects risks losing ‘public trust’

by Carly Graf : sfexaminer – excerpt

Supervisors say cost overruns and delays could jeapordize future ballot revenue measures

Some San Francisco supervisors are worried that The City’s transit agency has lost the public’s trust.

They point to a City Controller’s audit of the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, released in February, that concluded poor internal and inter-agency communication, inadequate project management processes and a lack of accountability or consistency has cost The City millions of dollars and nearly two years in capital project delays

Both the reauthorization of Proposition K, a half-cent sales tax designed to fund transit-related capital projects, and a separate measure that would provide a stable source of funding for SFMTA’s operating budget are currently under consideration for the 2022 ballot…(more)

City Policy Favoring Purchasers of Expensive Taxi Medallions Passed Constitutional Muster

By Auria Maleksalehi Perkins Coie : jdsupra – excerpt

A City municipal transit agency did not violate equal protection, substantive due process or state anti-age discrimination laws when it disfavored some taxi cab medallion holders from accessing lucrative airport pickups because, among other things, the law was rationally related to legitimate government interests. San Francisco Taxi Coal. v. City & City. of San Francisco, 979 F.3d 1220 (9th Cir. 2020)…(more)

Are there classes of taxi mediation holders?

Muni adds subway Wi-Fi so riders can at least tell bosses when they’re running late

By Jerold Chin : sfbayca – excerpt

At long last, San Francisco Muni subway riders will finally have Wi-Fi access throughout the subway when it reopens sometime in May.

The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency announced Monday in a blog post that Muni Metro riders aboard trains will be able to tell friends, family and bosses when they’re running late and check the SFMTA’s Twitter account to figure out why they’re stuck in the tunnel during delays…(more)

Surely they jest. Can’t people use their phones to call in without wifi? And who doesn’t assume the reason you are late is because of Muni?

SF has exploited, failed, and bankrupted its taxi drivers

By Marcelo Fonseca : 48hills – excerpt

Mayors Lee and Newsom sold pricey medallions to make money — then let Uber and Lyft make those investments worthless. The drivers deserve help.

In 2019, in a series of Pulitzer Prize-winning investigations, The New York Times exposed how government officials stood by as a generation of cab drivers was exploited, victimized by predatory lending, trapped with unpayable loans, and driven to poverty and despair:..

The parallels of this human tragedy are all too familiar to San Francisco cab drivers. Former Mayors Gavin Newsom and Ed Lee sold medallions – the licenses that allow an operator to drive a cab — to balance budget deficits. Under Lee’s administration, tens of thousands of quasi-taxi Uber and Lyft vehicles — without medallions — flooded our streets selling rides below cost, which as a result, trapped cab owners with unpayable loans and drove the entire taxi industry into poverty and despair…(more)

Closing JFK Drive is recreational redlining

By Community Contributor : sfexaminer – excerpt

Some advocates say that closing John F. Kennedy Drive to cars denies people of color and those with disabilities equal access to Golden Gate Park. Kevin N. Hume/ S.F. Examiner Advocates say that closing John F. Kennedy Drive to cars denies people of color and with disabilities equal access to Golden Gate Park. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)

The history of redlining in America has impacted communities of color for decades. San Francisco is no exception. The recent special order to close off John F. Kennedy Drive in Golden Gate Park is an example of recreational redlining: the discriminatory practice of denying public recreation and access to people of color and people with disabilities. If the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency and San Francisco Recreation and Park Department continue this closure beyond the stay-at-home order (which has already been lifted), they will be responsible for preventing communities that live in the southeast part of San Francisco, other communities further from JFK Drive, and people with disabilities from fully enjoying the park…(more)

SFMTA needs to back off and leave people alone. They can and will get themselves where they need to go without NO expense to the public if they are allowed to do so. This is not a game of “How can we generate enough income so SFMTA ca nget us where we need to go.” This is a simple request to “leave us alone to get ourselves around at not cost to the public”. At some point the government needs to take a hands off approach to how we live our lives instead of charging us to rearrange them.

RELATED:

We agree completely with the issues raised by the author of the article. We very much appreciate the concerns of the supervisors over the management of Golden Gate Park and the out-of-control departments that make backroom deals with corporate entities. It appears that the public, the Board of Supervisors and probably the Mayor were unaware of these arrangements.

We call for immediate investigations into any and all deals that exclude public access to any areas of the park. We also call for an immediate investigation into any and all backroom deals between government representatives and the Parks Alliance, and all private entities, whether or not they involve a cash transaction.

In the meantime open all the roads in the park to the public including private vehicles. It is obvious that the public is best suited to watch over the pubic space. Park visitors immediately see any changes and do an excellent job of reporting back what they see.

Only 85 percent of Muni service hours to be brought back by January 2022

By Carly Graf : sfexaminer – excerpt

Mission Street Red Lanes photo by zrants

Three Muni Metro lines are ‘unlikely’ to return until early next year

While San Francisco continues to gradually reopen from the year-long COVID-19 pandemic, its transit agency faces a long road to recovery.

By January 2022, only 85 percent of pre-pandemic Muni service hours are expected to be restored, up from the roughly 70 percent currently provided.

Julie Kirschbaum, transit director for the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, broke the news to the Board of Directors on Tuesday, laying out the restoration plan for the coming year.

“We won’t be able to do everything, but we will be able to do important things and keep up as The City recovers,” Kirschbaum said of the plan to slowly phase in additional Muni routes or increase frequencies.

SFMTA will receive enough federal money to close the deficit for fiscal year 2021, 2022 and possibly 2023, but leadership is wary of trying to restore all Muni service in the short term without a guaranteed source of income once stimulus dollars are drained…(more)

Caltrain to get fed money for electrification

By Curtis Driscoll : smdailyjournal – excerpt
Funding part of American Rescue Plan Act, full agency allocation to be decided soon

As part of the recently passed federal American Rescue Plan Act, an estimated $1.25 billion will be available in transit funding for the San Francisco-Oakland area, which includes San Mateo County, with Caltrain earmarked to receive around $52 million for electrification, said Charles Stone, chair of the San Mateo County Transit District…(more)

San José Mayor’s Statement on Status of BART Extension from San José to San Francisco, Oakland

via email: sanjoseca – expert

Rachel Davis, Press Secretary, 408.712.9149, rachel.davis@sanjoseca.gov

SAN JOSÉ, CA — San José Mayor Sam Liccardo released the following statement in response to the procedural ruling in the U.S. Senate that took the funding for the BART extension from San José to the rest of the Bay Area out of the “American Rescue Plan.”

“While disappointing, I want to thank our Congressional delegation for their championing of the BART Phase 2 project, which will finally connect the downtown of America’s 10th largest city, San José, to our region’s other two major cities, Oakland and San Francisco, with a “ring of rail” around the Bay Area.

This transformative project will become America’s first to utilize the innovative Expedited Project Delivery Program championed by Republican and Democratic administrations — leveraging state, regional and local funding sources to pay for 75% of the project’s cost — an uniquely cost-effective federal investment. I look forward to working with our Congressional leaders to find the funding that will enable us to transform nearly 100,000 auto drivers into BART transit riders.”…(more)

The Muni Death Spiral: San Francisco rolling toward recovery — or ruin

by Joe Eskenazi : missionlocal – excerpt

If Muni doesn’t work, it won’t matter if you make it free.

Muni, the transit agency that slowly trundles people and urine around San Francisco, is in a bad way.

Its current daily ridership stands at 183,000 — down from 710,000 in pre-pandemic 2019 which, itself, was down from 728,000 in 2016.

But, just like a rider on the 14-Mission realizing hey, that’s not Mountain Dew, this gets worse.

Between 2013 and 2019, Muni’s vehicular operating expenses grew from $663 million to $856 million — a 29 percent spike. Its overall expenses grew in that time from $785 million to $1.1 billion (41 percent). At the same time, fare revenue dropped from $220 million to $197 million — a 10.5 percent decrease.

Then came the pandemic — and, in all likelihood, years of people with the luxury to do so shunning public transit, despite what Dr. Fauci et al. would tell you about low transmissibility on buses and trains. Then came a Covid-induced revenue free-fall — coupled, jarringly, with renewed calls to make Muni free(more)

Maybe it should be put out of its misery and resurrected as a new streamlined operation out of the future.