Muni operators tell assault stories, plead for safety

By Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez : sfexaminer – excerpt

They’ve been vomited on, spat on, beaten, sucker punched, shot with fire extinguishers, and threatened with murder.

Now Muni operators have had enough.

The men and women who help ferry more than 700,000 people in San Francisco every day, and night, aboard buses and light rail vehicles have come forward to tell their tales of assault, in the hopes of compelling The City to do more to keep them and the riding public safe. Those operators were gathered by their union, Transport Workers Local 250-A and its president, Roger Marenco… (more)

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Cabbies Demand Relief From High-Price San Francisco Taxi Medallions

By Wilson Walker : cbslocal – excerpt

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — Cab drivers struggling to compete with Lyft and Uber are voicing their growing anger over San Francisco’s taxi medallion program’s cost and restrictions.

“You’re making an issue out of medallions that are totally worthless today,” declared cab driver Emil Lawrence, bordering on a shout…

This is what happens when you give San Francisco cab drivers a chance to sound off on the city’s disastrous taxi medallion program, and it went on for about two hours Wednesday at San Francisco City Hall…

Still looming over this entire discussion, the $28 million lawsuit filed against the city by the San Francisco Federal Credit Union, which now holds some $130 millon in what it calls ‘impaired’ loans associated with the troubled medallions.

The credit union says that lawsuit is moving forward now that a judge has found sufficient grounds for the breech of contract claim. In the mean time, the city is trying to roll out some answers for drivers, and so far, they do not like what they are hearing.

Maggi Yousef closed his comments to the SFMTA representative with one request: “Get me out of this, please.”… (more)

Muni cuts training hours to boost number of train operators, combat driver shortage

By Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez : sfexaminer – excerpt

In its scramble to roll out qualified train operators quickly amid a citywide Muni slowdown caused by an operator shortage, The City’s transportation agency has cut its standards and reduced the training hours for train operators, the San Francisco Examiner has learned.

Additionally, the number of hours certified trainers teach operators has been cut. Instead, operators are partially trained by other, already-trained operators that may not be certified trainers themselves — a practice that has the Muni operators union crying foul.

“If operators themselves don’t feel safe with their own training, how safe is the service being provided?” said Roger Marenco, president of the Transport Workers Union Local 250-A, in an August interview with the Examiner…(more)

Muni can’t seem to win. Maye they should listen to the workers instead of the voices in their head? We understand the biggest problem for the drivers is that they do not feel safe or respected. Why talk to the PUC? Aren’t they the group that is in charge of all the Uber, Lyfts and non-public disruptors? What do the drivers say about their training? Are they satisfied? Or may we ask?

‘Eroding the Confidence’: SF Mayor Breed Blasts Muni Officials For Flawed Service

By Sam Brock : nbcbayarea – excerpt (includes video)

Mayor Breed Balsts Muni Officials

One day after San Francisco Mayor London Breed blasted the Muni director in a letter, accusing him of “eroding the confidence” of riders in the system, the mayor took a ride on Muni and continued her criticism.

Breed said Tuesday you can’t push people to use public transportation and then have the transit not work. From widespread delays in service to the recent death of a construction worker, Breed said she’s fed up, and her concerns are echoing through City Hall… (more)

She not only complained about the Director, she blames the entire department and seems to be threatening the SFMTA Board as well for the lack of confidence in Muni. Hopefully she will appoint a strong new Board member to “shake things up”. Send her your suggestions.

 

Reiskin hangs on to his job, avoids firing —for now

By Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez” : sfexaminer – excerpt

In the first public opportunity for The City’s transportation board to oust or chastise Muni’s embattled head honcho, the board opted instead to show their support.

On Monday Mayor London Breed issued a fiery letter condemning the leadership of Ed Reiskin, the head of the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, laying a litany of issues at his feet, including a citywide Muni slowdown stranding thousands of riders, and a failure to properly vet the safety record of Shimmick Construction, a contractor repairing the Twin Peaks Tunnel.

Insiders told the San Francisco Examiner this looked like a precursor to ousting Reiskin. But, importantly, Breed can’t fire him.

Instead, that responsibility rests with the SFMTA Board of Directors, who in a closed-door session conducted Reiskin’s annual job performance evaluation Tuesday.

While the results of the evaluation are confidential, the board voiced its support for him at its public meeting Tuesday…(more)

Muni closes two bus yards on weekends during operator shortage, union cries foul

By Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez : sfexaminer – excerpt

Muni began closing the Kirkland Yard on weekends starting in June, a move that union members allege has exacerbated a shortage of drivers.

The City closed two bus yards this summer amidst a Muni operator shortage, potentially straining already worn-to-the-bone bus drivers.

That’s the allegation of the Transport Workers Union Local 250-A, which represents Muni operators.

And, TWU Local 250-A President Roger Marenco said, that decision likely exacerbated the citywide Muni slowdown… (more)

Complaints are the only way to deal with people who are too “smart” to listen to reason. These people do not know the meaning of customer service and they need to be taught how to deliver it or get out of the public transit business.

Complain to the Mayor and the Supervisors and to Ed Reiskin and John Haley. It is their job to run the buses if they want people to take them. And send your comments to the newspapers. They are all covering the traffic and Muni meltdowns.

RELATED:

Transit woes? Escalator at brand-new Transbay Center already out-of-service

By Michelle Robertson : sfgate – excerpt

If you’re in a public transit station and all the escalators are functioning, you’re probably not in the Bay Area… (more)

 

The Future of Livable Cities: Shared, Coordinated, Multi-Modal Services

masstransitmag – excerpt

Transit operators throughout the world are rolling out autonomous shuttle services, and in the process are developing solutions that can serve as playbooks for other agencies. Use cases for autonomous shuttles include extending service areas and offering multi-modal “last-mile” services from transit hubs to homes and offices.

Transport Pubics Fribourgeois (TPF), the public transport operator for the region of Fribourg in Switzerland, launched an autonomous shuttle service connecting the city’s public transit system with the Marly Innovation Center, a near 100-acre campus for technology companies that is about two miles from the nearest public transit station… (more)

Uber shuts down its controversy-steeped self-driving truck effort to focus on autonomous cars

usatoday – excerpt

SAN FRANCISCO — Uber’s self-driving vehicle efforts are now entirely focused on automobiles, a technological challenge that could mean a financial windfall to ride-hailing companies.

The company recently announced it was shuttering its self-driving truck division, which after its founding in 2016 almost immediately became mired in controversy and was the subject of a lawsuit by rival self-driving car company, Google-owned Waymo.

“We recently took the important step of returning to public roads in Pittsburgh,” Eric Meyhofer, head of Uber Advanced Technologies Group, said in a statement provided to USA TODAY. “As we look to continue that momentum, we believe having our entire team’s energy and expertise focused on this effort is the best path forward.”

Uber’s self-driving efforts took a big hit earlier this year when one of its Volvo SUVs equipped with autonomous sensors failed to detect a pedestrian crossing the street in a Phoenix suburb. The Volvo’s safety driver also did not react in time, leading to the death of Elaine Herzberg, 49… (more)

This is another case of selling products that don’t exist while they are in an experimental design phase to get ahead of the perceived competition. Good to hear they are at least letting go of self-driving trucks.