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.”


"but thought it was unfair to blame tech workers. “We need to stop demonizing these shuttles and these tech workers,” Wiener said."

Yes, he would say that since every time I see him he's glued to his gadget, staring at that screen in his hand which helps to promote the tech industry. He's part of the problem. Since he's up for re-election, he's now trying to pretend to understand the “frustration and anxiety” of tenants. Hopefully most people won't fall this stunt of his. He's not fooling some of us. We know who he really is and who he works for.

Posted by Guest on Tuesday on Jan. 21, 2014 @ 7:07 pm

Also, Wiener would have no clue about the “frustration and anxiety” of tenants. He lives in a condo with a silver spoon in a certain lower cavity.

Posted by Guest on Tuesday on Jan. 21, 2014 @ 7:26 pm

Sounds like it. Here's to hoping you're Ellis'd out on your ass within the next year!

Posted by Guest on Jan. 21, 2014 @ 8:11 pm

Thanks for helping to make my point for me. Your comment is very representative of what I've come to expect from Wiener's rabid, hateful, redneck, angry, conservative base and supporters.

Let's hope that there's not a bank bail-in and your mortgage goes way up and you end up in foreclosure. Then you might have to be a "frustrated and anxious" tenant.

Posted by Guest on Tuesday on Jan. 21, 2014 @ 9:34 pm

So don't worry about me. Unlike you I've put my faith in contract law and not in appealing to my landlord's sympathies to guarantee a roof over my head. Sucks to be you. Now go count people getting off corporate shuttles - watch your future in the Castro fade away in front of you. But hey, don't be sad. I've heard Fremont is lovely ;-)

Posted by Guest on Jan. 21, 2014 @ 11:28 pm

Do you have to work at being an asshole, or does it come naturally for you?

Posted by guest on Jan. 22, 2014 @ 4:55 am
Posted by Guest on Jan. 22, 2014 @ 7:52 am

"We are the future, you are the past, get over it." That's what I say every time I see a long-time tenant getting the boot from an apartment me or my friends can then move into. See - it's a sword that cuts both ways :-)

Have a nice day!!

Posted by Guest on Jan. 22, 2014 @ 10:25 am

critics should "move on" or "eat dirt".

But when the displacement of low-income colored people of color on low income who are displaced (as he would no doubt express it in his bloated writing "style"), then he is the very last person to "move on" or "eat dirt".

Posted by Guest on Jan. 22, 2014 @ 10:39 am

LOL. Oh just consider the source! I do. That person doesn't know what they're talking about. They don't know me. We've never met, and hopefully never will, based on their disposition.

I live in a building that my family owns and we're all very close, so I don't have a landlord "to appeal to for sympathies." And no, it does not suck to be me. We are all very pleased with the arrangement. It's just that I think about other people besides myself and my situation. I don't like seeing all of these good people being evicted out of their apartments and out of the city, and I would never wish that on anyone, even an enemy (if I had an enemy). I can't conceive of the debased and depraved mentality of someone who does wish someone to be kicked out on the street and be homeless. That's the indicator of a very sick person who wishes that on anyone.

Posted by Guest on Tuesday on Jan. 23, 2014 @ 4:57 am

On what planet are Wiener supporters redneck angry conservatives?
He has tremendous support in SF both in his district and outside of it.
The only person who sounds like an angry redneck is guest of tuesday.

Posted by Guest on Jan. 22, 2014 @ 9:38 am

makes policy based on that, rather than someone like Avalos who tries to tell people what they should want.

Wiener is a pragmatists and not an ideolog. Notice, for instance, his approach to the housing issue. He actually supports creating new homes, like micro-apartments and in-laws, whereas someone like Avalos just wants ever more restrictive laws about land use, even though that has been failing for 35 years.

Again, Wiener's nudity ban wasn't ideological at all. He talked to the people in that neighborhood and went with their prevailing majority opinion.

Wiener is one of the good guys.

Posted by Guest on Jan. 22, 2014 @ 9:43 am

Wiener will be a great mayor.

Posted by Guest on Jan. 22, 2014 @ 10:53 am

Ed Lee such a popular and effective mayor.

The fact that SFBG hate both of them is probably highly indicative of their qualities.

Posted by Guest on Jan. 22, 2014 @ 11:13 am

Ed Lee and Scott Wiener are miles apart.

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

moderate liberals and are both can-do pragmatists.

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

Bull shit. They are both conservatives who hide behind the word "moderate" to ram their agenda through and to appear less dangerous than they both really are.

As usual, the Wiener Disciples have saturated this forum with their deceitful pabulum. They write the same shit every time. They're predictable:

"Signature" Keywords of Wiener Disciples:
pragmatic, pragmatists, moderate, can-do pragmatist, good guy, "listens to his constituents"

It's all sales bull shit. You're fooling no one.

Posted by Guest on Jan. 22, 2014 @ 7:02 pm

And will prolly be reelected. If it's so difficult for you to stomach living in a district which elects and reelects someone you hate so viscerally you should move elsewhere. It's bad for your health to be so filled with vitriol over matters on which you have very little influence. You need to leave before you have a coronary.

Posted by Guest on Jan. 22, 2014 @ 7:09 pm

"....Wiener actually listens to his constituents...."

REALITY: ....Wiener actually listens to his CONSERVATIVE constituents and ignores all others...."

The rest of that post is just the usual drivel and spin that's said about him repeatedly by his rabid conservative base who he works for.

Posted by Guest on Wednesday on Jan. 22, 2014 @ 4:13 pm

Which voted against Prop 8 by 96%-4% and supported Obama by over 80%. Your characterization makes it sound like Little Alabama - showing just how out of touch YOU ARE with the district you claim to be your home.

Someone so out of touch and angry with the people around them should consider moving. If you don't do it on your own I have a feeling you have an exasperated landlord who would gladly help you along.

Posted by Guest on Jan. 22, 2014 @ 4:33 pm

He's so stuck in his own little progressive bubble that he can't even glimpse the outside world around him. He can't fathom that in 98% of this country, Scott Weiner would be considered middle-of-the-road to left-wing. Real "rabid conservatives" would call him a communist, which shows how far left and out of touch Castro Guest is.

Posted by Guest on Jan. 22, 2014 @ 7:34 pm

"He's so stuck in his own little progressive bubble..."

1. I'm not a progressive.
2. I'm not a "He."

But thank you for your PSYCHOanalysis. Do you also do crystal ball sessions? How about tarot card readings? And could I be so fortunate that you do palm readings as well?

Posted by Guest on Wednesday on Jan. 22, 2014 @ 11:38 pm

Hi, constantly i used to check webpage posts here in the
early hours in the break of day, since i love to find out more and more.

Posted by your body is a wonderland lyrics on Jun. 06, 2014 @ 2:01 pm

"Which voted against Prop 8 by 96%-4% and supported Obama by over 80%"

Gee, you like to live in the past don't you?

Prop 8 was passed in November of 2008. That's over FIVE YEARS AGO. That's a long time ago. The Castro and D8 have changed a lot in five years (become more conservative). Hell, it's changed a lot in just the last year. Troll less and get out more.

As for Obama, of course Obama was supported because of that D behind his name. Duh. That's what partisan Democrats do in a city where Democrats are the majority residents. You didn't expect them to vote for a R did you? In reality, Obama has turned out to be worse than Bush-(R) overall.

And I don't have a landlord.

Now who's out of touch?

Posted by Guest on Wednesday on Jan. 23, 2014 @ 5:24 am

you live. You sound very angry and sick - you need to move before this begins impacting your health and welfare.

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

The results of a presidential race between two candidates whose slight differences are on social, not economic, issues shed little light on the beliefs of voters.

Posted by Guest on Jan. 23, 2014 @ 10:09 am
Posted by Guest on Jan. 23, 2014 @ 10:28 am

Voted heavily for other Democrats in 2012 and there's no indication they intend to do differently in 2014. But time will tell won't it? The name of the game on the extreme left and right is delegitimatizing elections with which they disagree. The right did it with Bill Clinton for two terms, the left did it with George W. Bush for two terms and the right has done it again with Obama for two terms. In SF, despite every single progressive voting reform being implemented exactly as they wished, elections are still illegitimate when they result in a moderate being elected. The progressive left hated and delegitimized Gavin Newsom during both his terms, Wiener during his first term and Lee from the moment he was appointed through his election.

In progressive eyes the only true elections are those which result in their favored candidate winning. The 1977 and 2000 elections are still viewed as the only legitimate ones by progressives today - meaning they've only won two elections in 40 years.

Posted by Guest on Jan. 23, 2014 @ 11:50 am

Either they win an election or that election was bought, cheated or otherwise fraudulently obtained.

Posted by Guest on Jan. 23, 2014 @ 2:19 pm

This is classic SFBG "journalism":

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

Sounds ridiculously low, doesn't it? What Rebecca doesn't tell you is that California State Law (Prop 218) prohibits them from charging any more. In other words, that is the most they can charge without a ballot measure. And even if you disagree with their interpretation of 218, it is still a state law that is the basis of the $1 fee. A journalist would feel compelled by ethics to mention it.

Rebecca even goes on to quote a woman who is unhappy with the $1 figure and she still doesn't mention Prop 218.

All of the real journalists, and even serious bloggers, have written about 218. Here is an example from SFist:


Posted by Guest2 on Jan. 21, 2014 @ 7:17 pm

Fines are not constrained by Prop 218, the City could treat the commuter buses like any of us and sock a $270 ticket at them for every violation.

Instead, these firms are just takers, getting special treatment to take public space.

Posted by marcos on Jan. 21, 2014 @ 7:44 pm

bus zones Marcos. And constitutionally the city cannot order the police to target a corporate shuttle ahead of any other vehicle - because doing so would violate the constitution's equal protection clause.

I think "activists" like Joe-the-activist-masquerading-as-a-reporter and yourself should put their money where their mouths are and put an initiative on the ballot raising the fees.

The people united will never be defeated!!

Posted by Guest on Jan. 21, 2014 @ 8:16 pm

If the police know there are traffic violations occurring in an area, of course the police can target that area with stings and extra personnel. There are constant speed traps and police stings for stop-sign/traffic light/no-left turn/no stopping and myriad other infractions happening every day in the Bay Area and state. You really need to get out more.

The landlords, big corporations, property speculators, Mayor Lee and his biggest supporters are kicking ass on the SFBG and its core readers and supporters. Do you really need to come onto their website and gloat about it like a 6-year old? Every day? Every hour?

Posted by Guest on Jan. 21, 2014 @ 8:31 pm

If they were, Muni would get thousands of tickets a day

Posted by Guest on Jan. 22, 2014 @ 7:53 am

The MTA has DPT resources which it is commanded to use to speed up transit. They could indiscriminately ticket any vehicle that parks or stops illegally in a red zone. I'm not going to kid you, the SFPD would probably only enforce against single occupancy vehicles while giving the commuter buses a free pass.

Posted by marcos on Jan. 21, 2014 @ 8:33 pm

You want them to target one class of road user over others. Illegal and unconstitutional.

Anyway, they are using the stops legally now so it is all moot.

Posted by Guest on Jan. 22, 2014 @ 7:54 am

Real sneak attack too. I needed to stop at a local business for less than 5 minutes and there was no parking. There was no bus in sight, I left the car running, and left another person in the car just in case a bus shows up. A city worker casually drinking a cup of coffee in his truck was just waiting for this. He slapped a ticket on my window, and ran like the coward that he was before my companion could even protest. He wasn't even dressed in the uniform of a parking gestapo minion, just street clothes. I appealed that one, as is my policy to appeal every citation whether innocent or guilty (more on that later), and the city did withdraw it after I both calmly outlined my case, and calmly threatened to raise hell at every level. But this does illustrate where the city's priorities lie.

See, some would say I have a double standard, and indeed I do. I am not the same as Google, therefore the standard shouldn't be the same. The way the city goes after ordinary citizens who occasionally break the letter of the law (in this case complying with the spirit of the law), should not be the same as the way the city treats habitual, intentional scofflaws such as Google. The impacts of their actions are far more damaging than the impacts of mine. They can also afford to pay $271 a lot more than I can. For an ordinary person, $271 is a lot of money. For Google, it's change they can find under the couch cushions. And yet the city has exactly the opposite priorities. They ignore Google, but they go after little people with the utmost ferocity, shaking them down for revenue in a highway robbery scheme that makes the Mexican Federales look like amateurs. That's why I aggressively fight every single ticket. At worst, I tie up the system so that it takes 9 months to resolve a contested parking ticket. If everyone did like me, it would take 5 years. My primary goal is not to pay the fine of course, but barring that, my secondary goal is to get them to at least spend more money on the fine than they squeeze out of me. That goes double for traffic tickets. But the Google bus... fuck them.

Go ahead, trolls. Come out of the woodwork and call me a hypocrite. But that's just how I roll.

Posted by Greg on Jan. 21, 2014 @ 8:39 pm

Love the "clog the courts" strategy. The few tickets I've received on bike and car driving I've done exactly the same. In the "old days," even if you just showed up in court to contest the ticket, they'd cut the fine by 80%. They seem to have stopped that practice, but two other times the officer never showed up. "Case dismissed."

I wish criminal defendents would practice the same tactics by contesting every item at a court hearing and always going through with a jury trial. They'd win some of the cases (even if they were actully guilty), but more importantly they'd overload the court system. There aren't enough judges, jailers, prosecutors, investigators, court clerks or jails for even 1/10 of the criminal arrests in CA. If everyone could resist plea-bargaining they'd eventually bankrupt the state, or at least cause taxpayers to seriously rethink the criminal justice system in the US and how much tax money it's costing them and how many lives are being wasted by arresting low-level criminals.

Posted by Guest on Jan. 21, 2014 @ 8:52 pm

Since your outcome in the American justice system doesn't depend one iota on your actual guilt or innocence, you might as well use every trick you can.

Know who your judge will be. Some are more fair than others, and you can pick based on the day you go in. But you have to research in advance. Amazingly, one of the San Francisco commissioners actually believes in the principle of "innocent until proven guilty," but those are few and far between.

The judges will always reduce your fine if you just show up to your pretrial hearing and pretend you want to fight. Every trial costs them mucho money, so they want to incentivize fewer actual trials. But you're right, the reductions aren't nearly as great as they were.

Some judges will allow traffic school if you lose your case, even if they previously said they wouldn't.

Always request the officer's notes well before your trial. But know the magic word - saying "discovery" instantly changes the response from the court from "you can't have that" to "we'll mail it to you." I shit you not. This actually happened to me, where the court steadfastly refused to give me what is my legal right to have, until I uttered the magic word. This is a game to them.

The notes can be valuable. Remember, the system is designed to give every advantage to the cop, but police departments don't want recruits whose IQ is too high, so you're dealing with individuals who are, shall we say, limited. Sometimes that fact will save you even when all the rules are rigged against you. I'll never forget the day I received the officer's notes in one case, and the notes variously described my car as a Ford, a Chevy, AND a Volkswagen! For the same car!!! Ford and Chevy would've been good enough for police work, but when Officer Crewcut decided to add Volkswagen to the mix, I knew I as in for a treat. I really, really wanted that cop to show up for the trial. Unfortunately he decided to save himself the embarrassment.

Camera tickets can be fought in many ways. There are whole websites devoted to this, but the "it wasn't me excuse" is a big one. To facilitate utilization, I always cover my face as completely as possible when going through iffy camera intersections. Fortunately I haven't had occasion to test this out, but a family member did get off using the "it wasn't me" excuse. Doesn't matter that it was a member of the same household. No matter how they try to get you to reveal who it really was, you are not legally required to divulge this information.

The Department of Traffic Engineering is your friend, quite literally. Not only will they help you 'cause it's their job and all, but they've always been super nice to me and wished me luck. A fantastically good case will rarely absolve you in the American justice system. But a good technicality almost always will. A fantastically good case plus a fantastically good lawyer might do it too. But since hiring a lawyer is prohibitive in these "little" cases, your best bet is to search under every rock for that technicality. Your best hunting ground is the Department of Traffic Engineering. Speed surveys are often outdated/incorrectly done/incorrectly enforced. Weird parking tickets such as "wheels turned the wrong way on a curb" can sometimes be contested too based on technicalities.

Of course I can (usually) spare the time for this -it's kinda fun, actually, like a game. And I can afford it if I lose. For many people, both time and money are factors. Still, most people can and should do more to stand up for their rights. At the very least, never pay the parking ticket right away. Send that protest letter, even if it's total bullshit. It's been a couple years since I went head to head with the parking gestapo, but last I recall it was taking them 9 months to say no to your protest. That's nine months you'll have the money and not the city.

Of course in criminal cases, there's more at stake. I understand why folks take plea bargains. The US injustice system is a trajicomic train wreck.

Posted by Greg on Jan. 21, 2014 @ 10:10 pm
Posted by Guest on Jan. 22, 2014 @ 7:55 am

Willfully and blatantly. Why don't they get tickets?

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

someone else somewhere might be getting away with it?

You got caught. They did not.

Posted by Guest on Jan. 22, 2014 @ 12:26 pm

The city consciously chooses to go after ordinary people and not Google. Anyway, I already explained why I do what I do. If you itch to have the last word on it, go ahead and scratch your itch. I've said what I want to say.

Posted by Greg on Jan. 22, 2014 @ 12:46 pm
Posted by Guest on Jan. 22, 2014 @ 12:58 pm

How many years was it that you voted for the "wrong person" and were moaning, whining and complaining here and elsewhere about the politician in office?

You just realized your conservative wet dream recently (in the big scheme of things) under your messiah and savior Lee. Now when is his campaign office going to close so you can go home? It must be dreadful for you to be forced to come to this site which you despise every day still campaigning for him.

Posted by Guest on Jan. 22, 2014 @ 9:26 pm
Posted by Guest on Jan. 23, 2014 @ 7:37 am

Greg-the difference is that Google, etc are actively working with the city on a solution and they stop for about a minute at a time and are providing a valuable service to the city and it's residents. You letting your car idle in your "personal valet service" for several minutes while getting coffee helps no one but yourself and in fact reduces air quality. The fact that google has money has nothing to do with the issue. And no one is "targeting" you, although it would be nice if they could since you're admittedly abusing the system. You are a much bigger problem than any army of google/apple/Genentech/Facebook/visa/ea/yahoo shuttles ever could be. And you're a douche.

Posted by Guest on Jan. 23, 2014 @ 5:25 am

Tickets were not so crazy expensive and you could go before the judge and do your thing.

With democrat/progressive greed and terrible state/city management the system was turned to such a way to fuck the average schmoe at every turn.

To pay for the spoils system the screws have been turned onto the general public.

Posted by maybe a guest on Jan. 21, 2014 @ 9:33 pm

Do you ever let go of your anti-progressive shtick? This has nothing to do with progressives. Ed Lee's and his MTA aren't progressives. I've actually been treated more fairly in San Francisco courtrooms than anywhere else, especially conservative bastions like San Diego and Orange County, where courts are right out of Kafka. But really, fines have been going up in general throughout the country because taxes have been going down, leaving governments starved. Instead of taxing millionaires at 94% (or even 70%) like they used to, they've shifted the tax burden to the working class. But you can't squeeze blood out of a stone -there's just not enough there. So governments make up the difference with more fees, more fines. That's all.

Posted by Greg on Jan. 21, 2014 @ 10:21 pm

You don't trust it, but want your true believer side to take it over and force it on people for their own good. Which costs $$$$

I don't trust it, if whoever my side is took it over everyone would be left alone more or less. Which costs much less.

You drive up the cost of government, then complain about getting tickets and then brag about how much you fight the state over them.

Posted by maybe a guest on Jan. 21, 2014 @ 11:00 pm

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