Credit union files taxi medallion suit against SFMTA

By Julia Cheever : sfbay – excerpt

A credit union that helped The City of San Francisco sell taxi medallions has sued a city agency over financial losses caused by the collapse in value of the medallions amid the rise of ride-booking services such as Uber and Lyft.

The lawsuit was filed against the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency in San Francisco Superior Court on Tuesday by the nonprofit, member-owned San Francisco Federal Credit Union.

It seeks $28 million in compensation plus an order requiring The City to buy back unsellable medallions for the $250,000 purchase price.

The lawsuit charges the SFMTA violated alleged promises to keep the taxi business vibrant, shore up the value of the medallions and buy back any medallions that it couldn’t resell.

Instead, the law suit claims:

“…[SFMTA] has elected to stick its head in the sand while the credit union and hardworking taxi driver medallion owners are saddled with all the burdens.”… (more)

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Falling transit ridership poses an ‘emergency’ for cities, experts fear

washingtonpost – excerpt

Commuters tire of the \shuttle bus shuffle that crawls through San Francisco streets. Crowded Muni is painfully slow and standing room only is hardly a ride worth taking when other modes offer clean, comfortable seats.

Transit ridership fell in 31 of 35 major metropolitan areas in the U.S. last year, including each of the seven cities that serve the majority of riders, with losses largely stemming from buses, but punctuated by reliability issues on systems like Metro, according to an annual overview of public transit usage.

The analysis by the New York-based TransitCenter advocacy group, using data from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Transit Database, raises alarm about the state of “legacy” public transit systems in the Northeast and Midwest and rising vehicle ownership and car-based commuting in cities nationwide.

Researchers concluded that factors such as lower fuel costs, increased teleworking, higher car ownership and the rise of alternatives such as Uber and Lyft are pulling people off trains and buses at record levels…

“Transit systems should deliver quality service to low-income people. But low-income people do not owe us a transit system.”…

Metro is mulling a major redesign of the bus system. But first, officials need to figure out why people aren’t riding.]… (more)

Peskin seeks to block dockless electric rental scooters in SF

By Joshua Sabatini : sfexaminer – excerpt

Aaron Peskin introduced legislation Tuesday that would prohibit and assess fines for dockless motorized rental scooters if they show up on San Francisco’s streets.

Last year, The City took steps to block the emergence of dockless rental bikes from being dumped on San Francisco streets without permits. Peskin on Tuesday said the most recent emerging technology is dockless motorized scooters, which are rented through smartphone apps. The devices are motorized push scooters resembling large Razor scooters…

Currently is no permit required for leaving unattended motorized scooters that are part of a rental program. The legislation would require motorized scooter rental companies to obtain a permit from the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency. Without a permit, the scooters could be deemed a nuisance, and Public Works could confiscate them.

The legislation, which requires approval by the full Board of Supervisors to become law, would also allow the SFMTA to assess fines and the City Attorney to seek civil penalties against companies operating without a permit… (more)

SF supes want infrastructure impact fees for Uber, Lyft

By Joshua Sabatini : sfexaminer – excerpt

San Francisco Board of Supervisors wants state law changed so The City can charge Uberand Lyft with fees for using the streets.

The Board of Supervisors unanimously approved Tuesday a resolution from Supervisor Aaron Peskin that urges San Francisco’s state legislators to introduce legislation enabling San Francisco to impose infrastructure impact fees on transportation network companies like Uber or Lyft will be communicated to San Francisco’s state representatives in Sacramento: Senator Scott Wiener and Assembly Members David Chiu and Phil Ting…

The resolution will be communicated to San Francisco’s state representatives in Sacramento: Senator Scott Weiner and Assembly Members David Chiu and Phil Ting… (more)

Will our state representatives, who are whipping up new bills to remove local government jurisdictions, listen to our City legislators as they attempt to deal with the aftermath of the bad decisions being made in Sacramento?  Will the voters retaliate by removing those state representatives next time they get the chance to vote them out of office?

New rules to ban jitneys from competing with Muni

By Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez : sfexaminer – excerpt

The City is on the cusp of approving new regulations that will officially bar private transit service Chariot — and similar jitney services, should they arise — from directly competing with existing Muni routes.

Late last year, The City approved its first-ever comprehensive regulations of jitneys, which chiefly govern San Francisco’s only remaining private mass-transit service, Chariot… (more)

Uber ‘thumbing its nose at the law’: San Francisco city attorney

Lyft good, Uber bad.

So says San Francisco’s city attorney, who’s accusing Uber of getting up to its old tricks amid a probe into the San Francisco operations of the two ride-hailing firms headquartered in the city.

“For a company that is supposedly changing its culture, thumbing your nose at the law is a funny way of showing that you’re now a good corporate citizen,” city attorney Dennis Herrera said in a statement Wednesday.

Uber on Wednesday disputed Herrera’s characterization of its actions, saying it cooperates with regulators to comply with the law.

Herrera launched his public attack after purported stonewalling by Uber as the city attorney’s office seeks company data going back to 2013 for an investigation into whether Uber and Lyft have been obeying state and local laws.

While Lyft initially resisted allowing some of its records to be examined by experts from city government outside the attorney’s office, it has now agreed to permit that, Herrera said.

“This is a reasonable agreement that preserves Lyft’s trade secrets while advancing our investigation into whether these companies violated the rights of ordinary San Franciscans,” Herrera said…(more)