Transportation

The cost of fake cabs

Start-ups could put the city $300 million in the hole

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tredmond@sfbg.com

Hansu Kim has been involved in the San Francisco taxi industry for more than a decade. He helped design the current system of buying and selling cab permits, or medallions. In 2011, he led a group that bought DeSoto Cab, and now he runs what many say is the best-managed livery company in the city. Taxis are his career — and he's about ready to pull the plug.Read more »

Who gets hit by Muni switchbacks?

It's mostly low-income and outer neighborhoods

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rebecca@sfbg.com

Muni switchbacks — that annoying practice where trains force all the passengers off well before the end of the line — have been in the news lately, with new Supervisor Katy Tang making switchbacks her first political priority.

But when you zero in on who bears the brunt of these service disruptions, it becomes clear that not all transit passengers are created equal. In fact, Muni data shows that the vast majority of switchbacks were concentrated in just three locations this past January.Read more »

Western SoMa Plan changed to lessen development impacts to nightlife and Muni

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The Western SoMa Community Plan had its first hearing before the Board of Supervisors Land Use and Economic Development Committee today, with dozens of speakers praising the eight-year citizen-based planning effort that developed it but with much of the testimony criticizing the plan's emphasis on facilitating housing development to the exclusion of other goals.Read more »

No traffic for the rich

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The more libertarian elements of the Bay Area have been complaining for years about carpool lanes on the freeways. If everyone's stuck in traffic, and those lanes are open, why can't everyone use them -- and cut back on congestion?

Now, heeding those complaints (and moving in the fast lane toward privatization of the highway system), the Metropolitan Transportation Commission is moving to allow single-occupant vehicles to use the carpool lanes -- for a price.Read more »

More unregulated cabs on the street

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So the state regulators have decided that it's just fine for companies that pretend not to be taxi operators to operate taxis in San Francisco. That means Lyft and Uber can keep picking up passengers, charging them a "recommended donation" and avoiding the regulations that San Francisco wisely put in place to pro Read more »

Proposal to raze I-280 linked to train and real estate deals

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It's a bold idea, discussed for years behind closed doors and recently announced in a strangely understated and pro-growth way: Tear down the last mile of Interstate 280 and replace it with an wide boulevard – reminiscent of the removal of the Central and Embarcadero freeways – in order to facilitate the extension of electrified Caltrain and high-speed rail tracks into the Transbay Terminal.Read more »

Left-right punch knocks out increased development fees for Muni

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A new and unusual coalition of nonprofit, religious, and corporate interests today killed a legislative effort to get more money for Muni through the Transit Impact Development Fee, which was going through its process of being reauthorized every five years and came to the Board of Supervisors today.Read more »

The unregulated cabs

Community taxi apps seem like a good idea -- but they're going to put people out of work 

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EDITORIAL Yeah, the shared economy. Yeah, high tech. Yeah, there's an app for that. Yeah, the San Francisco cab industry is screwed up and you can never get a cab when you need one.

But that's not an excuse for the city to stand by and allow a whole cottage industry of unregulated, unlicensed cabs hit the streets, using a business model that everyone knows is fake and undermining decades of painstakingly crafted rules that govern this critical part of the city's transportation infrastructure.Read more »

The parking fee's too low

City streets are being rented out for a pittance

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EDITORIAL The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency is reviewing its policy on neighborhood parking, which is a positive step: The current system has been in place for more than 30 years and has become an unwieldy mess. But the agency needs to do more than just aggregate districts and set uniform rules; it needs to adjust the concept of preferential parking, meters, and prices to reflect the reality that San Francisco can't afford (and shouldn't promote) free parking.Read more »

Local parking permits -- and fees

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So the city's going to take a look at the neighborhood parking program. Good. Here's my first question: Why do the car owners get away so cheap?

It costs $64 a month to buy a Muni Fast Pass. It costs at least $300 a month to rent a garage. But if you're in the neighborhood parking program, you get essentially a guaranteed parking space on a city street -- public property -- for $104 a YEAR, or about 28 cents a day.

That's crazy.Read more »