SAVE MUNI MINUTES – September 16, 2019

SF TAXIS VS. UBER/LYFT: DEBATE ON MEASURE D

A public debate on San Francisco’s proposal to tax rideshare companies such as Uber and Lyft will take place on Monday, September 16. The 6 p.m. forum sponsored by Save Muni, a transportation think tank, will focus on November’s ballot Measure D. The debate will be held in conjunction with Save Muni’s monthly meeting at the Northern Police Station (Turk and Fillmore).

Measure D’s proposed tax on Transportation Network Companies (TNCs) has unanimous support of San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors, Mayor Breed and Uber and Lyft. A coalition of community activists and taxi workers has recently challenged the measure.

Tim Hester of Safer Streets & Better Transit Coalition will argue in support of Measure D. Sue Vaughan, transit advocate and member of the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency’s CAC, will speak in opposition.

Open to the public, the debate may offer the only in-depth look at the measure before the November 5 election.

Save Muni will also elect officers for 2019-2020 and discuss other transportation issues.

Transit Authority Tour

In the War Room

On December 11, SaveMuni members were treated to a tour of the County Transportation Authority’s control center at 1455 Market Street. The center is currently being upgraded to fully monitor and control the entire fleet of bus and streetcar vehicles. Eventually there will be redundant control facilities at Turk Street (OCC) and West Portal so that the system can be run from any of the three locations in an emergency. Recently a fire alarm required the evacuation of the TA facility; the OCC site was able to take over and manage everything on its own.

Ron Forrest (right)

Muni Operations Manager Ron Forrest answered our questions in the “War Room” before showing us around the facility. Ron comes to us fresh from having run the Atlanta transit operation, which has some pretty incredible on-time statistics. The War Room is equipped with about a dozen cabled laptops and is is a gathering place for MTA and other city officials when there is an emergency or a civic event that threatens to stress the system.

There are many things in the works right now, but perhaps the most critical is upgrading the communications system so that multiple controllers can be talking to multiple drivers at a time. Incredibly, with the current system, only one controller may be speaking with a driver at a given time. The new radio system should be operational on all vehicles by April.

There are cameras on all vehicles and along heavily used (downtown) routes. Of course, Muni riders will tell you that the heavily used routes are not generally where they have problems. In-vehicle cameras do not currently provide live feeds to the controllers.

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The Future of Transportation in San Francisco

Saturday, September 29, 2018, 10 am to Noon, Koret Auditorium, SF Main Library

The Forum will address increasing congestion on San Francisco’s streets and the deterioration of public transit. Muni carries roughly the same number of passengers in 2018 as it did a decade ago, despite increased city population and the economic boom. What can be done to make it easier to move around the city? The Forum features four presentations by transportation experts who will share their ideas for reducing congestion and improving public transit.

Jonathan Hopkins, Executive Director of Commute Seattle, will describe how his city has been the only one in the nation to increase transit ridership since the recession

Jerry Cauthen, Transportation Consultant, former Senior Engineering Manager and Transportation Vice President, Parsons Brinckerhoff, will talk about ways to improve public transit service and ridership in San Francisco.

Mollie Cohen D’Agostino, from the Institute for Transportation Studies at the University of California at Davis, will share results of her group’s study of transportation networking companies (Lyft and Uber) in San Francisco and other American cities.

Bob Feinbaum, Chair of Save Muni, will describe the role for congestion pricing in San Francisco, aided by a video featuring Jonas Eliasson, head of transportation for Stockholm, which adopted congestion pricing more than a decade ago

Share Your Ideas: A moderated discussion of questions from the audience.

Doors open at 9:30 AM. Enter at the Grove Street library entrance (tell Security you’re attending the forum). Coffee/ snacks available at the café opposite the auditorium. Sponsors: Save Muni + Coalition for San Francisco Neighborhoods. Contact: Bob Feinbaum, bobf@att.net