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)

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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)

’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.

Career Briefs: Sonali Bose, San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency’

By

 

• Sonali Bose, San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency’s director of finance and information technology, has retired. During her tenure, she raised the SFMTA’s credit rating to be the highest of any transit agency in the country. She oversaw a new parking program that adjusts rates at meters and garages to match demand. She helped fund the biggest increase in Muni bus and rail service that San Francisco has ever seen and increased the revenue from the agency’s advertising contracts from $400,000 to $30 million. Bose helped beef up Muni service by 10 percent, replaced the buses and light-rail vehicles, boosted the workforce from 4,000 to 6,000 employees and doubled the budget… (more)

Transit Mixed reviews for Muni’s plan to get on track

By : sfexaminer – excerpt

The summer’s Muni meltdown has cooled off, but bus service still hasn’t met The City’s on-time targets, data released Friday shows.

The City’s transportation agency is still struggling to hire enough drivers to operate Muni bus service, but has managed to resolve its self-described “pipeline problem” bringing existing train operators up to speed on its new light rail vehicles, transportation officials said Friday.

As first revealed by a San Francisco Examiner investigation in July, a confluence of circumstances resulted in a shortage of bus drivers, leading to a city-wide service slowdown. Just as more drivers were needed to operate additional buses to compensate for the Twin Peaks tunnel closure, Muni’s training division was tasked with bringing existing train operators up to speed on newly-purchased and badly-needed light rail vehicles… (more)

 

Patience Wearing Thin

Politico – excerpt

The chairman of the Assembly Transportation Committee called Thursday for the resignation of Dan Richard, chairman of the California High Speed Rail Authority’s board of directors, and for stronger legislative oversight on development of the bullet train after a scathing audit was released this month, reports POLITICO’s Angela Hart…

Richard responded Thursday evening: “Today, Vice Chair Tom Richards and COO Joe Hedges had a productive dialogue with members of the Legislature. Our primary focus remains continuing to improve this transformative project – the biggest job creator in the Central Valley in decades – we are proud of our accomplishments, always open to constructive advice, but have no need to respond to errant and uninformed attacks.”

Looks like this blame thing is going around. All kinds of mistakes are surfacing as the politicos attempt to shift the problem to a person and not their concept or system that is not performing as they would like. Could anyone have made this turkey fly?

This is being hailed as the “biggest job creator in the Central Valley”. And here we thought it was supposed to replace the need for air traffic between SF and LA. If the intention is to create jobs, the High Speed Rail must be a big success.

Maybe the better use of taxpayer funds would be to move the businesses to the Central Valley where the workers need jobs and housing is not a problem. Moving jobs where they are needed solves three problems: Jobs, housing and transportation and the corporations can pay for construction of the new offices and building, saving the taxpayer billions in expenses.

Amazon Is Coming. Can New York’s Transit System Handle It?

By Emma G. Fitzsimmons : nytimes – excerpt

When Andy Byford, the New York City subway leader, met with Amazon executives during the summer, Mr. Byford boasted that Long Island City in Queens was a transit wonderland ready to serve their army of workers.

The reality is far less rosy…(more)

 

Opinion: Fixing Bay Area transit requires better building practices

By Marc Joffe : mercurynews – excerpt

Change construction methods after setbacks of Salesforce Center, Bay Bridge, BART to San Jose, high-speed rail

In the Bay Area, we’re witnessing one transportation infrastructure setback after another. Too many projects are late, over budget and provide limited benefits, leaving travelers stuck in traffic.

Local leaders should consider policies to make infrastructure projects less costly and more reliable. Shifting risk onto the private sector and using more standard technologies are two such policies.

The latest setback is the closure of the $2.2 billion Salesforce Transit Center due to construction defects. Besides a rooftop park and an unused high-speed rail terminal, the elaborate structure includes overpasses spanning Fremont and First streets.

The structural integrity of these two overpasses is now in doubt. Since the terminal will only handle about 20,000 riders per day, it could have occupied a much smaller footprint, obviating the need for overpasses…

Whatever technology officials choose for intercity rail and other transportation projects, they should award projects on a Build Operate Transfer (BOT) basis. Under BOT, a private contractor has responsibility to complete the project and establish service for a predetermined cost, eventually turning it over to the government. The contractor gets the opportunity to make extra profits, but the company takes on the risk of losses when construction costs exceeds budget or revenue service is delayed.

While for many Bay Area progressives, public-private partnerships may be a dirty word, the fact is that all our major infrastructure projects involve private contractors. The operative question is not whether companies have a role, but whether they have incentives to get projects done on time and within budget.

Marc Joffe, a Bay Area resident, is a senior policy analyst at the libertarian Reason Foundation... (more)

Public Meetings to Discuss Proposed Legislation to Remove Parking Requirements

https://sf-planning.org/article/public-meetings-discuss-proposed-legislation-remove-parking-requirements

Supervisor Kim’s Office and the San Francisco Planning Department will be hosting three public meetings to discuss Supervisor Kim’s proposed legislation to remove remaining minimum parking requirements in San Francisco. Details on dates, times, and locations are listed at the bottom of this page.

Read the background information at the above link.

Community Meeting 1

Wednesday November 14, 2018
12pm – 1:00pm
San Francisco City Hall,  Room 278
1 Dr Carlton B Goodlett Pl, San Francisco, CA 94102

  1. 12:15pm: Presentation
  2. 12:30pm: Q&A

Community Meeting 2

Thursday November 15, 2018
9:00am – 10:00am
San Francisco City Hall, Room 278
​1 Dr Carlton B Goodlett Pl, San Francisco, CA 94102

  1. 9:15am: Presentation
  2. 9:30am: Q&A

Community Meeting 3

Monday November 19, 2018
6:00pm – 7:00pm
San Francisco City Hall, Room 278
​1 Dr Carlton B Goodlett Pl, San Francisco, CA 94102

  1. 6:15pm: Presentation
  2. 6:30pm: Q&A

For more information and RSVP

  • Please RSVP by emailing Kimstaff@sfgov.org  with the date you will be attending.
  • For questions or more information about the proposed legislation, contact Paul.Chasan@sfgov.org. (note that the wrong email link is online. We have corrected it.)