Supervisor Scott Wiener Wants More 24-Hour Transit Options

The 24-hour party line.
Weekend bridge closures in the last few years gave us a chance to experience BART the way we'd long envisioned it: as a 24-hour party line.

Ideally, all-night BART would essentially become an extension of San Francisco nightlife, we thought. People would take BART to after-parties and booty calls, passengers would fraternize and fall in love through the Transbay Tube.

Sadly, the idea of a 24-hour BART wasn't exactly what he had expected: It suffered from lackluster ridership and shoddy revenue, not to mention those all-nighters left the system with a hangover. Still, the experiment reinvigorated an old debate about transit scheduling, and who it should serve.

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Don't Forget: You Have to Pay More to Cross the Golden Gate Bridge Next Week

Categories: Transportation

Rich Niewiroski Jr/Wikimedia
Pretty ... pretty expensive
In case you have forgotten, starting Monday, the toll rates for 2-axle vehicles crossing the Golden Gate Bridge will go up by $1, making it a whooping $7 just to have some fun in Marin and come back.

For FasTrak users, the rate will increase to $6 and if you're carpooling with a FasTrak, you will now be paying $4.

The latest increase is part of a larger plan the directors from the Golden Gate Bridge, Highway and Transportation District rolled out to collect more money from drivers every year. After the initial rise in toll on April 7, there will be a 25-cent increase in toll every year from July 1, 2015 until 2018.

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Vomit on a Bus, Piss Away Your Credibility

The list of circumstances in which vomiting is the right thing to do is a short one. And, all but certainly, when vomiting is the right decision, it follows a procession of wrong decisions. 

On that note, protesters today all but literally vented their spleens upon a Yahoo bus and its occupants; if nothing else, this morning's nastiness marks the rare achievement first reached by Yahoo instead of Google. 

Often in life, what's most important isn't what one is for but what one is against. You can pick your friends. To a lesser extent, you can pick your enemies. 

Yahoo and its tech brethren couldn't pick better ones. 

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SF Supervisors to Decide Fate of City's $1 Agreement With Tech Buses (Update)

Update, Wednesday, 11:38 a.m.: In an 8-2 vote yesterday, the Board of Supervisors voted to deny the environmental appeal.

The tech bus that puttered up to a group of Spandex-clad protesters at 24th and Valencia Streets today might face obstructions of a different kind, after the Board of Supervisors votes on whether or not to chuck its deal with San Francisco Municipal Transit Agency.

Last month, a loose confederation of political groups -- led by SEIU Local 1021 political director Chris Daly -- filed an environmental appeal with the board, claiming that the city didn't complete a comprehensive environmental impact study before approving its tech bus pilot program, which would charge the coaches $1 per squat to idle at Muni bus stops.

Because California Proposition 218 prevents municipal agencies from charging companies and then funneling the money into city coffers, SFMTA can only charge tech companies enough money to defray the cost of running the program. The $1 fee adds up to about $1.5 million for Muni over the course of 18 months, which seems inconsequential, when you consider the program's side effects: Opponents are apt to invoke the little old woman who has to hobble into the street to catch Muni, because a luxury tech coach is blocking her path.

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Supervisor John Avalos Slams Uber for War on "Fair"

Supervisor John Avalos
Taxi drivers beset by the undisputed Boss Tweed of car-hire apps have a new ally in San Francisco politics.

Or at the very least, they have the ear of a Supervisor who's grown disenchanted with Uber's ideological line.

"I have heard the word DISRUPT 5X today," District 11 Supervisor John Avalos groused, in an exasperated tweet following his meeting with Uber's corporate brass on Thursday. The company seemed steadfastly committed to its free-market credo, Avalos concluded. But it had a problem with the word "fair."

In a phone interview, Avalos described the encounter as a battle of opposing world views. He'd invited two Uber drivers and the company's public policy director, Jordan Condo, into his office to discuss future transit legislation. Avalos says that as soon as he brought up the specter of regulation -- something to make the industry a little more fair to all players involved -- Condo recoiled.

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Uber Rolls Out App to Bypass Uber Price-Gouging

Two months after Uber CEO Travis Kalanick offered customers a New Year's Eve primer on how to avoid getting gouged by Uber, the company is redoubling its charm offensive.

In a blog published Monday afternoon, Uber introduced a new app to bypass Uber gouging. Called Surge Drop, it notifies users when surge pricing ends at their location, so that they can wait for a cheaper ride.

"We're taking transparency to the next level!" gushed the blog, penned by a company that's widely reviled for its lack of transparency.

Asked to explain the impetus for Surge Drop, an Uber spokesman pointed back to the blog post, which characterizes the feature as an olive branch for irritated consumers. "We'll stay true to our pledge to get you the fastest ride available, and sometimes that will require surge pricing to get more drivers on the road," the blog says. But it alleviates the laissez-faire model somewhat by offering a cheaper alternative for those who can wait.

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San Francisco Activists Appeal Google Bus Fee

Google gentrification
The gentrification debate could very well wind up in a San Francisco courtroom soon. This afternoon, a legion of San Francisco activists (housing, labor, gay rights, etc.) filed an appeal, attempting to challenge the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Authority's decision to charge tech buses a $1 per-stop fee..

Richard Drury, an attorney representing a group of activists, released a statement saying the appeal is based on "significant environmental impacts that the City has failed to analyze and mitigate," including the displacement of housing, low-income communities,and people of color as well as air quality concerns.

"The Commuter Shuttle Program is like the opposite of school busing. Rather than busing low-income children of color to neighborhoods with good schools, this program buses wealthy white adults into the mission where they displace low income residents of color," he says. "This is an environmental justice issue and an environmental impact under" the California Environmental Quality Act.

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Severe Turbulence on SFO-Hong Kong Flight Injures Nine

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Hong Kong-bound
A group of passengers who departed San Francisco yesterday aboard Cathay Pacific Airways landed in the hospital after the plane hit some mega turbulence, tossing passengers from their seats.

CBS delivered the scary news this morning, detailing the overseas trip which got a lot bumpy as the plane cruised over Japan. The 747-400, which was carrying 321 passengers and 21 crew members, encountered the turbulence near Hokkaido around noon Hong Kong time Tuesday. It lasted about two minutes.

At least one passenger described the flight as a roller coaster ride.

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Gett Ratchets Up Claims Against Uber

An Israeli-based car-hire startup that accused Uber of foul play in New York City has now intensified those claims.

On Tuesday, Gett (known globally as GetTaxi) unleashed a flurry of press releases, claiming that several Uber managers orchestrated the now-infamous ride-ditch campaign, requesting rides via the Gett app and then canceling them after the drivers had been dispatched. Gett also claimed that the perpetrators had used fake names and fake credit card numbers to create multiple fraudulent accounts.

If Gett pursues those complaints in court, it could have a robust and multi-pronged case against Uber.

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California to Google: Move That Boat (Update)

Update, 3:32 p.m.: San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission responds (see bottom).

Original Story:

The barge from a distance.
Three months after Google sent the Internet a-tizzy by mooring a mysterious Flying Dutchman off the shore of Treasure Island, state officials are telling the tech giant to dock its ship elsewhere.

The San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission, which oversees permits for vessels in the Bay, already clamped down on Google once before, saying it didn't have a permit to leave the barge at Fort Mason. Now it's saying the boat can't just hover near Treasure Island, either, even as it's undergoing construction.

In the last month, the Google barge morphed from a source of fascination into a giant complaint magnet, according to The Verge.

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