The agency responsible for regulating the ride-hailing industry in California has failed to collect consistent data on complaints of assaults, threats and harassment on Uber and Lyft rides, a San Francisco Public Press investigation found.
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.
Uber and Lyft were expected to shut down service at 11:59 p.m. tonight as a court ruling forcing them to reclassify drivers as employees was set to go into effect. With just hours to spare, an appeals court judge granted the companies a reprieve. “Civic” spoke with two drivers who want employee protections.
Drivers for Uber and Lyft staged a car caravan and rally outside Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi’s home last week to protest their classification as contractors despite a California law, AB5, which the state says defines such drivers as employees. “It’s personal for me, it’s personal for all these drivers, because our lives are directly affected by it,” said driver Edan Alva. “My ability to pay for my son’s health insurance, my ability to put food on the table, all these drivers’ ability to exist in a balanced way, in a dignified way, where they live, is dependent on labor protections.”
Cherri Murphy. Laura Wenus / Public Press
The drivers, affiliated with groups including Gig Workers Rising and We Drive Progress, were also there to call on Uber to withdraw support for a ballot measure backed by Uber, Lyft and DoorDash that would exempt drivers for these services from AB5’s requirements. The measure, which will be on the November 2020 ballot, would also require that drivers be paid more than minimum wage and would require health care coverage for drivers who work at least 15 hours per week.