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Thursday, March 3, 2016

Time Management: BART Willing to Pay You to Show Up Late to Work

Posted By on Thu, Mar 3, 2016 at 1:27 PM

click image MOJADO.COM
  • Mojado.com

It’s no secret that riders have been piling onto BART in record numbers in the past five or so years as the Bay Area, and San Francisco in particular, enjoys healthy economic activity.

Social media is chock full of commute woes on a daily basis (just type in #BART on Twitter). But there are hard numbers supporting your more crowded commute: BART says its average weekday ridership has increased by more than 100,000 people since 2010, and now stands at 430,000, per the Chronicle — which used to be the kind of crowd you'd only see when the Giants won the World Series.

That’s a lot of bodies. But not only is it crowded, BART is expensive — and there's no "monthly pass" or other discount for suffering the ignominy of being stuffed into a tube on the bottom of the Bay twice a day.

But they are trying to do something about it, as in paying you to tweak your travel habits. If you’re lucky enough to have an employer who’s flexible with your schedule, or if you have the ability to set your own hours because you’re the boss of you, you could finally get close to enjoying on BART one of those heavy-use discounts enjoyed by the riders of virtually every other transit agency in the known universe. 

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Friday, February 19, 2016

Great Success: Cyclists' Sensible Yet Illegal Behavior Rewarded (With Bike Lane)

Posted By on Fri, Feb 19, 2016 at 11:10 AM

A winning scene. - CHRIS ROBERTS
  • Chris Roberts
  • A winning scene.
As anyone living west of Divisadero will tell you, navigating Page Street in the morning can be hairy. Traffic often backs up for blocks as you head down a long hill on the approach to Octavia Boulevard, where cars line up to take a right turn towards the US-101 onramp.

Bicycle riders adjust by passing the stopped cars on the left, but the street is narrow — so passing bikes, flying down the hill, often have to use the oncoming travel lane. That's a sensible move, as passing on the right would require navigating an even narrower passage between the cars caught in traffic and the parked cars, but that's a no-no, and has in the past earned cyclists tickets from SFPD standing sentinel at the bottom of the hill.

But no longer. The once-illegal behavior is now enshrined in law, thanks to a freshly-painted bike lane installed this week. Chalk — or paint — this one up to the cyclists.

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Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Drivers with Uber, Official Super Bowl Partner, Plan Super Bowl Strike

Posted By on Wed, Feb 3, 2016 at 6:00 AM

Surge situation. - UBER DRIVERS UNITED
  • Uber Drivers United
  • Surge situation.

Super Bowl 50 arrives bearing gifts for San Francisco. Hometown hero Uber, for example, is an official partner of the Big Game — which, according to Super Bowl Host Committee spokesman Nathan Ballard, means that Uber drivers can use taxi stands when ferrying passengers to and from the various events in Super Bowl City, U.S.A., including the parties in San Francisco and the game itself at Levi's Stadium.

That's a nice perk for Uber drivers, some of whom are organizing to make sure no driver takes advantage of it.

Some of the organizers of yesterday's protest of Uber HQ demonstrated, but the first one to earn national press — in which 200 or so Uber drivers circled from City Hall to Uber's 1455 Market Street offices and back honking horns, are trying to get as many Uber drivers as possible off of the road before Sunday. 

It's an Uber Super Bowl strike, a show of driver solidarity in the months leading up to the pivotal court decision on whether Uber drivers are employees or contractors. Will it work? Can it work?


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Friday, January 15, 2016

Starting Today, Some BART Trains Will Have Even Fewer Seats

Posted By on Fri, Jan 15, 2016 at 11:38 AM

JIM MAURER/FLICKR
  • Jim Maurer/Flickr

Transit planners call it a “crush load,” but commuters know it as a typical rush hour on BART. With ridership levels at record highs, the agency is getting creative (or desperate) with space management aboard packed trains. Starting today, BART will remove seats from 20 of its cars to accommodate more passengers.

Per Hoodline, seven double seats in each car will be replaced with single seats. Four of the newly roomy cars will launch on each of the agency's five lines.

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Monday, January 11, 2016

It Was a Disturbing Weekend for Public Transportation in the Bay Area

Posted By on Mon, Jan 11, 2016 at 1:38 PM

RAFAEL CASTILLO/FLICKR
  • Rafael Castillo/Flickr
It was an atypically grisly weekend for public transit around the Bay.

On Saturday evening, a BART passenger was shot dead on a train near the West Oakland station — a shooting whose chaotic aftermath was captured on cell phones and shared via social media. The train was en route to San Francisco at the time. 

Then, early this morning, the downtown Berkeley BART station closed briefly after crews discovered the severed right foot of a woman who’d been struck, but not killed, by a train 22 days earlier in December. (The macabre find was “an unusual start to the work week,” a BART spokesman told ABC News.)

And, closer to home, the San Francisco Police Department reports that a 14-year-old boy aboard a Muni bus at Park Presidio and Geary had a knife pulled on him. Around 9:10 p.m. on Saturday night, the boy told another passenger, a twentysomething man, to quiet down. (An unruly fellow passenger on Muni? Surely you jest.)

According to Kron 4, the man approached the boy, put a knife to his chest, and demanded his shoes. He then stuck the knife to the boy’s throat and demanded his cellphone. The boy handed over his phone but not his shoes.

The suspect remains at large, as does the suspect in the fatal BART shooting near West Oakland station. That man is described as “slim, 6 feet 3 inches tall, black, wearing a green hooded jacket, blue jeans, and red and black boxer shorts. He was also wearing tan military-style boots and a backpack."



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Monday, January 4, 2016

GM Gives Lyft $500 Million to Beef Up Self-Driving Car Technology and Take On Uber

Posted By on Mon, Jan 4, 2016 at 10:29 AM

ΣΠΎΡΟΣ ΒΆΘΗΣ/FLICKR
  • Σπύρος Βάθης/Flickr

Lyft — the ride-hail service that isn’t Uber — announced today that General Motors has invested $500 million in the company, thus closing Lyft’s latest venture funding round and bringing its new total valuation to $5.5 billion.

That’s encouraging news for a company that ranks a distant second to Uber’s $62 billion valuation and multinational operations. But will it be enough to keep Lyft from going the route of Sidecar, another (albeit much smaller) ride-hail competitor that ceased operations last week?

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Wednesday, December 30, 2015

BART Raised Fares and Then Bored You Into Not Noticing

Posted By on Wed, Dec 30, 2015 at 1:26 PM

THOMAS HAWK/FLICKR
  • Thomas Hawk/Flickr

Christmas may be over, but our friends at BART are gifting us with a fare hike on Friday. Just what you wanted, right?

Okay, it’s not quite a surprise; the increase was scheduled years ago, and details were announced in the spring. But unless you pay exacting attention to the opaquely labeled Title VI tab on the BART homepage, you might not have seen it coming.

It’s a relatively modest rise: 3.4 percent, rounded to the nearest nickel, 10 or 15 cents on most trips. Your longest possible trip, from SFO to Pittsburg/Bay Point, will go up 40 cents. In all, it’s an extra $50 to $75 for a year of round-trip commutes five days a week. Not a lot of money in the grand scheme of things, but just enough to annoy some workaday riders.

Still, let it not be said that BART didn’t try to keep us up to date. They even launched a new, surreal YouTube channel back in April, exclusively to host a single five-minute video explaining the fare hike in painful detail.

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Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Mayor Lee’s Demand to Make Tour Buses Safer Probably Won’t Work

Posted By on Tue, Nov 24, 2015 at 12:25 PM

CHADMAGIERA/FLICKR
  • Chadmagiera/Flickr

The double-decker bus that lost control on Post Street a week and a half ago and injured 20 people may not be the most pressing public safety issue in the city (Vision Zero and lingering unease about PG&E gas lines come to mind), but it is the hardest to ignore.


The image of a blue juggernaut hurtling pell-mell past San Francisco landmarks while scattering orange safety barriers like dandelions in its wake would be comical if so many people hadn’t been hurt — and it’s an image not likely to slip the minds of anyone who takes a jaunt up that particular block anytime soon.

Maybe that’s what urged Mayor Ed Lee to get on the horn last week and demand sweeping inspections of the city’s entire carrier bus entourage.

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Thursday, November 19, 2015

VIDEO: Union Square Bus Crash Could Have Been Much Worse

Posted By on Thu, Nov 19, 2015 at 2:17 PM


Last week's tour bus crash in Union Square — when 20 people were injured, six critically, after an out-of-control tour bus smashed into a construction site — was bad. But as the recently-released video of the double-decker tour bus flying down Post Street in traffic shows, the crash could have been much worse.

The bus, which was not inspected and certified by the proper authorities, struck a cyclist on the 500 block of Post, knocked over traffic barriers, and finally crashed into scaffolding in front of the under-construction Apple store on Stockton Street. 

Multiple investigations, including why the City Sightseeing Tours bus was bearing the license plate of another bus in the fleet, and how this bus escaped inspection by the proper authorities, are underway. In the meantime, the bus's near-disastrous ride through traffic was captured by surveillance cameras, footage from which was obtained by KRON-4.

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Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Caltrans Admits More Roads Mean More Traffic and Your Commute Will be Hell for All Eternity

Posted By on Wed, Nov 18, 2015 at 1:03 PM

WONDERLANE/FLICKR
  • Wonderlane/Flickr

Last month, Caltrans linked to a policy brief that sought to address whether more highways means less traffic congestion. Needless to say, the brief didn’t go viral, but it’s piquing curiosity as word gets out. Most state Departments of Transportation endorse the idea that building more roads spurs “economic benefits” and relieves traffic, but California, as it often does, bucks that trend.

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