Chariot lobbyist may be in trouble for campaign donations

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24th Street is one of the most impacted streets by the Tech buses. Merchants have always had trouble on the street and now they are leaving in droves. Residents have been protesting for months and getting very little relief as the SFMTA moves the tech stops around like the Police move the tents, trying to pretend like they are improving the situation.

New information on investigations into possible campaign improprieties surfaces two days before the Mayoral election in this letter.

Hello Friends and Allies,

The tech shuttle bus protest this morning using electric scooters may have caught your eye: http://www.sfexaminer.com/acti vists-block-tech-bus-commute- say-e-scooters-treated-better- homeless/

But there is more in the news regarding corporate efforts to privatize mass transit and co-opt public space. A lobbyist for Chariot may be in trouble for donating personally and bundling close to $1000 to the campaign of London Breed for Mayor. This may violate Proposition T, passed in 2016, and is now being investigated by the SF Ethics Commission., Bigad Shaban and colleagues of NBC Bay Area Investigative Team did a report on the charges to the tech shuttle buses to participate in the Commuter Shuttle Program. Per that program the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency permits the tech shuttles to — illegally — make use of public Muni bus stops for a cost-recovery fee now set at $7.31. (It’s a violation of California Vehicle Code 22500.5 for any but public buses and taxis to use public bus stops. There is an exception for school buses when there is an agreement between the public transit agency and the school district in question.) Why, the team wondered, is the SFMTA only charging the tech shuttle buses a per stop administrative fee tied to the cost of running the program but had been selling taxicab medallions for $250,000 a piece until the advent of Uber and Lyft?

Don’t forget to vote!

Sue Vaughan

San Francisco Accused of Giving ‘Tech Buses’ Free Ride

Nearly 400 commuter shuttles travel through San Francisco every day, but are they paying their fair share? That’s the question posed by critics who argue companies that operate these “Tech Buses” should pay more for their use of public bus stops and damaging city streets. Investigative reporter Bigad Shaban reports on a story that first aired May 3, 2018…(more)

MUNI Service Improving:?

By Guest Writer

The City believes mass transit needs improving.  That is why we recently passed a bond measure for $500 million, by 71.3% of the voters, to provide more funding for MUNI in our last election.  Does anyone see an improvement of the “on time” performance of MUNI today from yesterday?  With construction going on at a record pace and traffic often blocked with utility improvements, not to mention additional laborers, traffic is worse.  One solution for better MUNI performance has been to limit or restrict service, creating hardships for the elderly, the disabled and the handicapped.  Even eliminating bus stops to hospitals is considered an improvement in service, i.e. the 33 bus could discontinue its stop to San Francisco General sometime in the future.  Usually, seniors and those with disabilities move to locations where mass transit provides services to health care service.  Now, these same citizens will need to move again.  Is this really the role of government, to hamper the needs of those less fortunate than we are?

The Private Taxi Congestion:
Uber, Sidecar and Lyft pretend to remove congestion in San Francisco, reducing the need for individuals to travel down town.  Well, with 20,000 vehicles working for Uber alone on a daily basis, they are adding to traffic congestion, not solving it.  In addition, Uber wishes to add an additional 120 vehicles to improve their service.  Uber is the largest of these private taxi services but Sidecar and Lyft also contribute to congestion in San Francisco.

Private Buses a Boom or Bust to Neighborhoods:
Assembly Bill 61, which is presently on hold, would give legitimate approval for private buses to use public bus stops.  Private buses for employees of Google, Apple and Salesforce are prime examples of those that would benefit from this law.  At first glance, it would seem less people on the road would benefit the public, however, let’s look at this further.  Studies have shown that those who rent beside private bus stops are finding their rent increase, allowing well paid tech workers to replace existing tenants.  Those that own property, whether it be residential or business real estate, are finding their property value increasing by $100,000.  Therefore, their property taxes are rising.  If small businesses move, the diversity provided by “Mom and Pop” stores will diminish, as larger chain stores replace less profitable businesses.

A Fair Tax for Private Buses:
Heavy private buses, typically do not pay their fair share of cost  for “wear and tear” on our streets.  Minimal fees for private access to these public bus stops of $1 or $3.50 a visit, do not pay for the true cost of access.  A flat fee of $1,000, $5,000 or $10,000 a day would be more appropriate allowing the improvement of mass transit maintenance or the purchase of more vehicles to our existing fleet.  Then too, any worthwhile City necessity, i.e. affordable or middle class housing subsidies could benefit from this tax.  The City is missing an opportunity to tax wealthy companies fairly.  We ask the City to look again at their mass transit policy, please.

SF Transportation Authority – CAC meeting Wed May 27

Notes from the meeting by guest author:

The SFCTA CAC item 12 addressed the Potrero Hill Neighborhood Transportation Plan.  The southern Potrero Hill area will be rebuilt and the curvy  streets realigned to a grid design.   The enclosure to Item 12 is a full report and Appendix F discusses a shuttle and costs linking the neighborhood.  Line 53 was discontinued around 2009.  Some CAC members expressed concern that Muni should provide the service rather than a private contract provider.

Item 13 addressed various fund requests.  DPW requested  $1,045,000 in Prop K funds for tree planting and maintenance.  A CAC member questioned the continued tree program and impact on residents once the tree is relinquished to the property owner.  My comments were: repair the tree induced buckled sidewalks backlog first before planting more trees during a drought.  Two members abstained from voting on Item 13.

$1 million dollars for planting trees during a drought using prop K funds does seem a bit much while citizens are being told to stop watering lawns. Should we ask the governor about it?

Item 16 updated the CAC on the platform height between High Speed Rail and CalTrain on the SF/SJ blended system.  The powerpoint provides the details as the San Jose, Millbrae and San Francisco stations would be affected.   Last month during general public comment, I asked about the platform / rail car design status.  Still not resolved.

Item 17 Transportation Sustainability Program eliminates Level of Service from CEQA project consideration and imposes a transportation fee per square foot on Residential Projects.  Commercial projects have a fee (old Prop M).  I commented that this presentation was made in early 2012 to the SFCTA / MTA and Planning Commission with a completion of the end of 2013.   The current presentation estimates an end of 2015 completion,  a two year delay.  I questioned how many residential projects outside of Priority Development areas have received a free pass by not paying an impact fee.   Also, any impact fee can be used anywhere in the city for a transportation project.  They are expecting the Developer  to  implement the Transportation Demand tool kit  encouraging sustainable travel.  The goal is to reduce vehicle miles traveled (VMT).   I questioned the impact of transportation network vehicles (Uber, Lyft) driving around empty searching for the next ride on the VMT calculation.

Lastly, during general public comment, I discussed the Corp Commuter Bus Pilot program.  Explained the large buses have a rear swing and displayed the broken red lens from a double deck bus that collided with a  Muni key stop ramp.  CAC requested a future update  presentation on the MTA Pilot program.