The state agency responsible for ensuring that rides with Uber and Lyft are safe has acknowledged that it failed to consistently monitor passenger complaints about rapes and assaults for years. The California Public Utilities Commission confirmed in an unpublicized ruling that it had let the ride-hailing giants use varying definitions of sexual assault and harassment in their mandatory reports to the agency since at least 2017.
Sean Nozzari, deputy director of traffic operations for the California Department of Transportation in the Bay Area told “Civic” that when the spring 2020 lockdown began, “the amount of travel initially dropped maybe 80%. But it started building up, and around December of 2020 it started going up steadily to a point that the amount of travel that takes place on our freeways is pretty much about what we had before.”
This year’s civil grand jury, a volunteer government oversight body, chose to focus one of its reports on the Van Ness Improvement Project to try to get a clear picture of what happened. Juror Judy Sanderlin detailed some of the findings of the report, titled “Van Ness Avenue: What Lies Beneath,” on “Civic.”
Ridership on BART is slowly returning at about 20% of pre-pandemic levels. Starting next week the transit agency will begin adding trains with a return to a near normal train schedule by August 30. “Civic” learns more about BART’s plans, ongoing budget problems, new trains, the homeless and how BART is prepared for a mass shooting like the one at a light rail yard in San Jose last month.
More than a year after COVID-19 shut down much of the city, the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency is set to resume all parking enforcement policies and phase in towing.
Advocates opposing San Francisco’s towing practices have asked for a permanent moratorium.
Hundreds of Muni workers have fallen ill with the coronavirus and two have died, said Roger Marenco, president of the Transport Workers Union Local 250A. For others, he said, the pressures of the job have only been worsened by the additional dangers posed by a global pandemic.
Public transportation has been transformed by the coronavirus pandemic. San Francisco’s Muni light rail system has been shut for months, and buses are running on core service lines only. The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency’s Director Jeffrey Tumlin and Director of Transit Julie Kirschbaum joined “Civic” to explain how Muni has adapted to the pandemic and some of the changes ahead.
On BART, ridership was about 13% of pre-pandemic levels in October. Since around 65% of the system’s revenue comes from fares, the drop in ridership was a major blow to operating plans, said Janice Li, who represents BART District 8 on its board of directors. The board has since passed a cost-cutting plan that covers its expenses for the first three quarters of fiscal year 2021, but the agency still faces a $33 million deficit for the fourth quarter of the fiscal year and a projected $177 million shortfall in the next fiscal year.
Bay Area political leaders are throwing cold water on a controversial work-from-home rule proposed by the Metropolitan Transportation Commission as part of a regional climate change plan. The proposed mandate, part of a long-term sustainability initiative called Plan Bay Area 2050, would require the majority of office workplaces to ensure 60% of their employees are working from home on any given day.
Adina Levin, executive director of the nonprofit Friends of Caltrain and cofounder and advocacy director of the nonprofit Seamless Bay Area, explains how Measure RR got on the ballot and what it would enable Caltrain to do. Eric Garris, a San Francisco resident who submitted the official opposition to the measure, lays out his argument against the tax.
On Aug. 20, a state appeals court gave Uber and Lyft more time to argue their case that they shouldn’t have to abide by a California law that requires them to classify their drivers as employees, who would be entitled to unemployment, sick leave and other benefits mandated in California.