SFMTA Board approves tech shuttle plan

After sitting through hours of commentary in which people said the pilot was a bad idea, the SFMTA board approved it.

The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency Board of directors approved a pilot program today that allows operators of private commuter shuttles to use public bus stops, something they’ve been doing illegally for years on a very predictable basis.

The program will establish an “approved network” of 200 designated San Francisco stops where private shuttles may pick up and drop off passengers. It will issue permits and identifying placards to the private buses and require them to adhere to certain set of rules, like yielding to Muni buses if they approach the stop at the same time. (There’s already a Curb Priority Law stating that any vehicles not operated by Muni will be fined $271 for blocking a bus zone. But the city has chosen to ignore that law when it comes to private commuter shuttles.)

Finally, the program will charge shuttle operators $1 per stop per day, which covers the costs of the program implementation and no more.

The meeting drew a very high turnout that included the protesters who have been blockading the buses, Google employees, private commuter shuttle drivers, and residents of various San Francisco neighborhoods.

Sup. Scott Wiener spoke at the beginning of the meeting, saying he was fully supportive of the pilot program, which was developed over the course of many months in collaboration with tech companies who operate the shuttles.

“These shuttles are providing a valuable service,” Wiener said. He said he was sensitive to widespread “frustration and anxiety” around the high cost of housing and rising evictions, but thought it was unfair to blame tech workers. “We need to stop demonizing these shuttles and these tech workers,” Wiener said.

Then Sup. David Campos addressed the board. “I think it’s really important for us to have a dialogue to find common ground,” Campos said, adding that pushing shuttle riders into private automobiles was not a good outcome. But he also urged the SFMTA board to send the proposal back to the drawing board. “It’s a proposal that simply does not go far enough,” he said.

Campos was also critical of the SFMTA’s process of studying the growing private shuttle problem for years, drafting a proposal in collaboration with members of the tech community, and waiting until the eleventh hour once the plan had already been formulated to seek comment from community members who are impacted.

“Public input is being sought after the fact,” he said.

That feeling of being frozen out of the process was echoed in comments voiced throughout the public comment session, which went on for hours.

“I’m opposed to the $1 charge,” one woman said. “I believe it’s way, way, way too low.” She told a story of receiving a ticket for being parked in a bus zone very briefly. “It wasn’t a $1 ticket,” she said.

Another woman, who said she was born and raised in SF, said she’d been riding Muni since she was in diapers. “It makes me really sad that we have regional shuttles and corporations that are saying, you can’t just fix that system, we’re going to go around it,” she said. She urged members of the transit agency board to find a better system that would work for everyone, “because you are in charge.”

A Google employee told board directors that she is very pleased that the shuttles have made it possible for her to live in San Francisco. “Not everyone at Google is a billionaire,” she said. “Ten years after the fact I am still paying my student loans. This is a choice, I know, to live in San Francisco and commute to Mountainview. But I wouldn’t have it any other way.”

Her perspective, however, came in sharp contrast to that of Roberto Hernandez, who spoke on behalf of Our Mission No Eviction and said he was worried that displacement caused by rising rents have forced many members of his community to move to the East Bay.

Hernandez also brought up a little-known consequence of transit delays caused by private shuttle buses.

In the elementary schools near 24th Street in the Mission, he said, “They have the breakfast program for people who are low-income. So if you show up late, you don’t get breakfast.”

Here’s Hernandez addressing the SFMTA board members.

In the end, the transit directors approved the pilot with very little discussion. “At the end of the day, this is before us as a transit issue,” said board member Malcolm Heinicke. “And we’re better with something than nothing.”


Posted by Guest on Jan. 22, 2014 @ 12:25 pm

Wouldn't you agree?

I guess you'd also agree that black people should be classified as non-humans, because that's essentially what you're saying.

Posted by Guest on Jan. 22, 2014 @ 12:41 pm

I didn't say anything about blacks. I said some classes of people commit more crime and you jumped to the assumption that that meant blacks.

Interesting stereotype.

Posted by Guest on Jan. 22, 2014 @ 12:55 pm

the the shooting cop yesterday used bad judgement. Care to argue? You almost never pass one up no matter how obvious or trivial.

Posted by Guest on Jan. 22, 2014 @ 1:03 pm

You do not know. You're just fishing because you see the chance of a cheap dig at the cops. As I said, you said nothing when there was a murder at the Occupy camp.


Posted by Guest on Jan. 22, 2014 @ 1:16 pm

If the investigation shows that the shooting cop used good judgement, I predict you will also claim you know my opinions about other unrelated topics.

Posted by Guest on Jan. 22, 2014 @ 1:27 pm
Posted by Guest on Jan. 22, 2014 @ 1:36 pm

California police have routinely used the term NHI to refer to black-on-black crime. The question asked was what does that say about the police, when they refer to certain races as sub-human?

Your answer was supportive of their stratification of society that way, on the grounds that they're "chasing after crooks and thugs." Your answer right now is further dog whistle politics. You dance around the issue, all but explicitly stating that you too think blacks are subhuman.

So what kind of people think of whole races, whole categories of society as subhuman? One could make the argument that such people are themselves less than human, because they lack something that makes us human: empathy. Which might make this kind of a case one of the few true NHI cases out there.

Posted by Guest on Jan. 22, 2014 @ 1:22 pm

The felony-murder rule is one of the worst laws ever made, because it's just asking for abuse. If the cops want to kill two birds with one stone, all a cop has to do is murder someone -the partner of the suspect, an innocent bystander, anyone. The cop gets off scot free, and the suspect is charged with murder. Gotta love the US justice system.

Of course this case would be unusual since it was a fellow cop. Maybe he didn't like the guy. What better way to get rid of one of your coworkers than to claim it was an "accident" AND have someone else charged with murder at the same time!

Posted by Greg on Jan. 22, 2014 @ 1:18 am

have not been published.

Either that or you just hate cops. Oh wait . .

Posted by Guest on Jan. 22, 2014 @ 8:05 am

I don't know any of the details. It's just idle speculation based on the posts above. That doesn't make it "hate." That said, as more details come out, it seems that it is a real case, and I do hope the perpetrator of the murder gets locked up for a very long time. For the sake of the grieving family of the innocent victim, who happens to be a cop. See how much I care about cops?

What I do fear, however, is that the cops and DA will somehow try to trigger the felony-murder rule. *If* they do that, that would be a real travesty of justice, because clearly a suspect that has been in custody since Thursday could in no possible way have contributed to the murder of this innocent cop. I think we can all agree that this would be another horrible abuse of this terrible law, and I hope they don't even try, but knowing the system, I fear they will. They should concentrate on putting away the real cop-killing perp. If I were the family of the innocent victim, I'd want nothing less than the same kind of justice that the system dispenses to any other cop-killer.

Posted by Greg on Jan. 22, 2014 @ 12:13 pm

of people (cops) then it rises to the level of hate, or at least prejudice.

Mere idle speculation would have a more even distribution of views.

BTW, someone in prison can still initiate crimes so that may not be relevant.

Posted by Guest on Jan. 22, 2014 @ 12:15 pm

"when mere "idle speculation" is consistently against one class of people (cops) then it rises to the level of hate, or at least prejudice."

I'm defending the innocent cop who got shot, and calling for justice for his murder. But I don't always defend cops. When they're wrong, I have been known to criticize them on occasion.

"BTW, someone in prison can still initiate crimes so that may not be relevant. "

So you're saying that this suspect caused the killer to shoot his partner from custody? Wow, that's quite the conspiracy theory there. You must really hate cops to go to such lengths to deny this innocent cop's family the justice they deserve. This is a cop-killing, and the perpetrator of this horrible crime must be brought to justice. Not someone else, but the perpetrator. Nothing less.

Posted by Greg on Jan. 22, 2014 @ 12:39 pm

close the barn door on that.

Re the other, Greg, you have rarely seen an issue where you cannot concoct a bizarre conspiracy theory, so you should have no problem here. But my point was rather your flawed observation that because someone is in custody, that they somehow could not instigate a criminal act.

Posted by Guest on Jan. 22, 2014 @ 12:53 pm

But sadly, only in your own mind.

Why do you hate cops so much that you're willing to concoct the most bizarre conspiracy theories I've ever heard, in order to prevent a cop-killer from facing justice?

Posted by Greg on Jan. 22, 2014 @ 1:10 pm

(or even, as in this case, when there is not) you always need no excuse to write thousands of words endlessly obfuscating, and invariably taking pot shots at the justice system.

It is way too late to dig yourself out of this one. But I'll agree that you're only a legend in a highly undesirable way. But hey, at least someone here is paying attention to you, if only to expose and debunk you.

Posted by Guest on Jan. 22, 2014 @ 1:23 pm

The MTA is not elected. They are appointed by Ed Lee. And not to channel my inner Matlock here, but one reason for that is that various anti-car special interests have resisted reforms to make the MTA more responsive. Ask the SFBC if they want an elected MTA. That's anathema to them, because they realize that some of the proposals that the anti-car people want are going to be hugely unpopular. More bike lanes, better MUNI... that's stuff we can find broad agreement on. But when they start pushing things like Sunday and evening meters, more police crackdowns, and things like that, there's no way you're going to get that through a body that's actually responsive to the people. So they prefer a body that's NOT responsive to the people.

But then why should we be surprised when "After sitting through hours of commentary in which people said the pilot was a bad idea, the SFMTA board approved it." Um... hello! These guys don't care about the public and their comments. They serve at the pleasure of one man, and progressives are partly to blame for this one.

Posted by Greg on Jan. 22, 2014 @ 12:45 am

"Um... hello! These guys don't care about the public and their comments."

No they don't, you're correct and the same for the Board of Supervisors. They waste hours listening to "public comments" and then turn around and vote in the opposite direction of what most people said during the comments time (because Board members had already decided how they plan to vote before the "public comments" charade). The "public comments" time is merely a charade to give the appearance of "democracy." Why even have it. It's useless.

Posted by Guest on Wednesday on Jan. 22, 2014 @ 5:23 am

The kind of people who show up for these meetings are extremists and always sing the same song.

The silent majority are fine with these buses and with tech, but would never bother going to a city hall meeting to say so.

The Supes are smart enough to ignore the extremists. They talk to real people the rest of the time. It's always amusing to watch the Supes roll their eyes while the crazy mob have their 2 minutes of whinery.

Posted by Guest on Jan. 22, 2014 @ 8:03 am

I've talked to supes who have admitted they changed their vote based on public comment. Perhaps it doesn't happen too often, because some supes go in there with more of an open mind than others. I think the issue matters too in terms of how open the supe will be. And half the time the public comment bolsters what the supe believes anyway. But it absolutely does happen that certain supes change their minds on certain issues. And it may only take one or two votes to change the outcome on a controversial issue.

As for the argument that public comment is unrepresentative... maybe, but it's much more representative than the methods that the elites employ to influence the supes. Public comment is part of democracy. It's a way for the people to come out and influence their elected officials, whom the elected officials are supposed to represent anyway. Sure, those who care deeply about an issue are more likely to show up, but that's true of democracy in general. At least it's all out in the open, on public TV. Unlike the wining and dining and lobbying of the elites that goes on in the shadows.

Posted by Greg on Jan. 22, 2014 @ 12:31 pm

1,000 landlords complain. Rigid ideologs like Avalos and Campos are probably the least likely to be swayed by public comment.

I'd agree that the Supes listen to their constituents. After all, they want to be popular and to be re-elected. But that means the more normal day-to-day kind of interaction with residents that someone like Wiener does a really good job of.

If he hears a rabble crowing about Google (as i imagine was the case yesterday) then he knows that is not a representative group. More generally the anti-shuttle crowd tend to be more passionate and zealous, while the pro-shuttle folks are hardly likely to feel strongly enough about it to show up.

Supes are good at knowing when the comments they hear at meetings are representative, and when they are just the hollow rants of an extremist fringe group.

Posted by Guest on Jan. 22, 2014 @ 12:51 pm

Is another man's constituency. If you serve only the 1%, then everybody else looks like rabble.

1000 landlords will never show up to public comment. That's not the way they operate. They prefer private meetings where their message doesn't have to compete with someone else's, backed up by a check quietly slipped into the campaign coffers (on a different day of course, totally unrelated to what the landlord wants of course).

Even so, some supes can't be bought. Avalos and Campos are primarily there to serve the masses. Their base is in the working class. Weiner's is with the elites and corporations. That's all good and well, but there are far more working class folks than 1%-ers, and in San Francisco far more tenants than landlords. So what Weiner is doing is not what democracy is all about.

Posted by Greg on Jan. 22, 2014 @ 1:07 pm

Wiener sometimes goes with the liberal view, sometimes with a more conservative view. That's because he listens and then decides.

It's Avalos and Campos who always side with the unions and non-profits, never considering the issues or the voters, and blindly following their ideology.

A crowd would show up at a meeting after blocking a bus can reasonably be described as a rabble. Our duly elected and appointed city officers rightly dismissed them as the rabble that they were.

Posted by Guest on Jan. 22, 2014 @ 1:15 pm

Avalos and Campos are already ideological and SEIU owned.

Just as Bush 2 was owned by Jesus and the oil industry.

SEIU and the oil industry may not directly hand out money, although I wouldn't put it past them. A right wing Jesus and progressive single mindedness share the same pathology of thinking, no one who follows both blindly is getting paid off in money, but in the currency of self righteousness.

Because Avalos and Campos toe the true believer line uniformly people think they are free thinkers for some reason. It's like being a follower of Ayn Rand and thinking your group is full of individual thinkers.

Posted by maybe a guest on Jan. 23, 2014 @ 4:46 am

Avalos an ex SEIU flunky is there to serve the masses and the working class. I doubt the working class in the city have much interest in subservient SEIU politics.

Posted by maybe a guest on Jan. 23, 2014 @ 4:35 am

Because their position on EVERY issue is entirely predictable.

At Weiner is interesting.

Posted by Guest on Jan. 23, 2014 @ 9:23 am

position they want to take on an issue. Rather they simply consult the ideological cookbook prepared for them by the city family and vote accordingly.

You could replace them with a laptop programmed with a politically correct checklist and nobody would notice the difference.

Posted by Guest on Jan. 23, 2014 @ 9:34 am

The latino community in the Mission have a lot of racists in their ranks. They want to keep the Mission ethnically pure, meaning most people there are poor and lower middle class Latinos. They don't even want tech latinos there, latinos that can set an example to kids. Be a programmer, not a drug dealer, not someone that is an "activist" their whole life.

Posted by Guest on Jan. 24, 2014 @ 12:14 pm

Does anyone care...?
Google program manager Crystal Sholts at SFMTA hearing on shuttle buses: "I'm not a billionaire"
No, but you and your husband (partner at law firm Keker & Van Nest) are probably millionaires
I wondered why she said 'billionaires' and not 'millionaires'
(and if not actual millionaires, certainly much bettor off financially than most people "still paying off my student loans")




Posted by gussdolan on Jan. 25, 2014 @ 3:58 pm

It just means you own your home.

Posted by Guest on Jan. 25, 2014 @ 6:01 pm

Kids can be late for a multitude of reasons. Take an earlier bus!

Posted by Guest on Jan. 31, 2014 @ 12:42 pm
Posted by Guest on Jan. 31, 2014 @ 3:16 pm

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