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    That pictured Metrolink coach is the NEW Hyundai Rotem coach with the P40-look cab car and is NOT one of the coaches to be sold off.



    I think they should add a 1 am and 2 am SB train as well to enable people to take public transit after a night on the town in SF



    We know there will be a tech crash. Ever since the victory of the old “supply-side” economics with the reaganites, the old boom&bust era of the pre-New Deal has returned and thus the 2000 tech bust and the 2009 housing mega-bust. But this coming tech bust is different than the 2000 crash. There’ll be a bust but nowhere on the level of 2000.



    How does 2~5 min longer traveling time affect existing riders? I believe convenience (Frequency) offset the traveling time increase.



    There are 3 locations of 4 track segment and Millbrae station have 3 tracks. Technically, NB local train can wait for by-passing express train at Lawrence, Redwood junction, Millbrae and Bayshore. Local train will be significantly slower but Baby Bullet can be run every 15 minutes.


    Karen Lynn Allen

    I live in Noe Valley where thirty (I am not kidding) of these buses (Google! Apple, Genetech! Some other unmarked company!) go in front of my house every day. I am fine with these buses. I would rather have these thirty buses go by my house THAN 900 CARS. Enormous numbers of people in Noe Valley have been driving to jobs in Silicon Valley ever since I move here twenty years ago. I am delighted to have them take a bus instead.

    When I am out walking, biking, jogging in my neighborhood and other neighborhoods, I have never had a bad run in with a corporate bus. Not once. I will not argue that others haven’t had a bad experience, but not once has one been double-parked in a bike lane I was riding in or nearly run me over in a crosswalk. In contrast, I have bad experiences with cars on a DAILY basis–blocking the bike lanes forcing me into fast traffic, honking, cutting me off, not seeing me in the crosswalk as they blast through the stop sign, not allowing me to cross (as a pedestrian) even when I arrive at the intersection first, etc. Sometimes I have two or three bad experiences in a single day. Again, corporate buses–not a single bad experience. Private cars–never-ending bad experiences. In fact, I would say corporate buses are far nicer to me than Muni buses. Not that all Muni bus drivers are mean, maybe only half. But I have never had a corporate bus driver not wait for me to cross the street, or not wait before pulling out as I ride past on my bike, etc. Muni drivers–again, about half–do pull these stunts routinely.

    No member of my family works for these tech companies with buses, I receive no payment from them. My prime concern is the well-being of San Francisco and the planet. Energy-wise, private cars are a disaster. Climate-wise, private cars are a disaster. Health-wise private cars are a disaster. Space-wise private cars are a disaster. Corporate buses make it possible for people working in Silicon Valley to reduce or eliminate their use of private cars. They make it possible for people living in San Francisco to own no car at all.

    In the face of declining world net energy available, people who live in San Francisco use far less energy than people living in the suburbs, even if they commute by bus or rail to work. They live in fewer square feet to heat and light, they make more non-commute trips by foot, bike or transit. They generally don’t have lawns or swimming pools. And they generally have no need for air conditioning. Yes, it would be better if companies could locate in San Francisco rather than in horribly inaccessible corporate parks. (Talking to you, Apple.) But as long as Silicon Valley towns refuse to build dense, walkable neighborhoods, the buses are the second best option; far better than suburban sprawl into the ungodly reaches of the South Bay. If there is not enough room on our streets for these buses to either stop or traverse (because the roads are too narrow), then private car storage should be reduced until there is enough room. Low carbon emissions transportation is a far higher priority than private car storage on public land.

    Now if the real issue is that rents are too high (and the buses are just an indirect way to complain about this) this bubble is so close to bursting that all you have to do is wait a few more months. (In the meantime, grab some popcorn and watch the air coming out of the Chinese bubble first.)Then the for rent signs will spring up like mushrooms on every block, just like they did in 2001 after the bubble burst. But then the problem will be having a job at all.


    Aaron Bialick

    Think you missed the point…


    Richard Mlynarik

    As a 5th generation San Franciscan I …

    Excellent. No need to keep reading. Anything, from this author, on any subject, ever.



    Once built cement and blacktop require very little care.

    Well then, let’s go get those people who spent 10 billion dollars on just Doyle drive and the bay bridge in the last decade, because they were already built and needed little care.

    Aside from that large scale example, you are pulling that put of your tail. The thinking that roads do not need maintainance is the reason out roads are in such disrepair.

    How the city spends money is orthogonal to how it is collected. My position is that It would be better to cut spending and thus lower MUNI fares than to cut spending and remove Sunday meters


    WilliamH'Ford IV LLC

    Wow Aaron what a monumental feet of mental gymnastics. Way to completely
    ignore the root of the arguments made for another review of the buses.
    Way to discount the consistent, measured and legitimate concern about
    impact on existing public transportation and safety of cyclists and

    I, like many, do not view the private bus issue
    through gentrification goggles, instead focusing on safety and service

    But hey you are right I guess I just have to deal with
    private buses double parking, or using bike lanes, where the MUNI stop
    isn’t desirable, using small residential streets that cannot safely
    accommodate buses (and are not used by MUNI), and blocking MUNI service
    for the benefit of a few, right? Because cars.

    Seriously this
    argument that if the private buses cannot have it all their way (and by
    extension presumably continue to expand their routes in an unregulated
    fashion), then cars are a reasonable outcome is really just childish

    Question, how many of the supposed 59% of private bus
    riders who claim they would use a car will actually follow through on
    that when 2+ hours commutes (driving, not typing away on work), nightly
    parking hassles, and fuel costs are all actually figured in to the

    Your op-ed does nothing but contribute to the
    political brinkmanship between to irrational extremes (those who want no
    buses at all, and the firms who want no functional regulation of their
    corporate perk). Well done. If you followed Tuesdays hearing you would
    have noted that a large group are seeking better regulation. The review is a tool to force the hand of those who due to politics (read tech money funding campaigns) are unwilling to follow through on legally obligated reviews.

    Regulation =/= Banning.

    guess it is safe to assume Google, G-tech, Facebook, Apple and the lot
    kicked down some money to keep the lights on at Streetsblog for the
    month, right?



    The protesters are jealous. If they spent as much time looking for a job as they do protesting they would have nothing to complain about. Google is giving their employees some perks and any company can do that. Google isn’t asking people to pay for the bus they are subsidizing it themselves. Stop whining.



    There was a gas station on Market Street a couple of blocks east of there until quite recently. Other than that there isn’t a gas station for a long way in any direction. Offhand I can only think of the two at Fell and Divis, one at 6th and Lincoln, and one at 16th and Guerrero.

    The Chevron at Fell and Masonic is no more, and at least half of the gas stations in the Mission have closed.



    is this really about buses versus cars, and do the answers lay there? Is it not more about the divide that is growing, and the growing two-tiered lives? Perhaps the issue is not buses but that they are private and exclusive, serving what has become an elite class. Could they be open to all? Do the tech companies also run buses for their lesser-paid contract workers to areas where they live? Could these companies, with their money and influence not work to help provide better transit for all – especially those who help create the more desirable places and charmed lives – the service workers of all sorts who enable a quality of life, those who build the new condos, those who drive buses, who work in the many lesser paid jobs that directly and indirectly support those in the tech industry? While more environmentally sustainable, they are a symbol and a reality of a shift that cannot be sustained.


    Russell Blank

    Ha… at first I thought this post was sincere, it was only when it got into full Onion territory that I realized this was brilliant parody.

    My favorite part is the last paragraph which begins with “I like most people don’t walk, I drive because I have places to be…” and finishes with the satirist stating “I walk all the time and these dangerous bicyclist almost ran me over 5 times.”




    Depends on which “burbs” you live in. It is not uncommon for people in Contra Costa country to drive 2+ hours a day to commute to San Jose. I have know quite a few people who drive even longer to get to work.



    Well said.

    However if these folks “get a car”, most of them would live out in the burbs, much closer to work. The SF-South Bay auto commute is grueling and you would have to really want to live in SF to subject yourself to 2+ hours a day driving. (Not to mention street parking in most hip neighborhoods is nearly impossible.) While I’m not against the shuttles, there’s no question they allow people to live in SF who otherwise couldn’t or wouldn’t.



    Richard has detailed his significant (and largely failed) efforts to do something about in in the past. Clearly his political skills are dwarfed by his technical ones.

    The very real and HUGE problems Richard periodically goes on about are not in question … and yet they persist … despite people like us who get it, know he’s right and are seemingly either unwilling, unable and/or powerless to do something about them.

    So when you take the time to point out his complaints are “useless” … what are you trying to accomplish? Discourage him and others from pointing out the big yet non-obvious-to-most elephant-in-the-room problems they can’t fix, or motivate others (besides you, I presume) to “do something” about them?

    Maybe, just maybe, one of these complaints will directly or indirectly come to the attention of someone (or enough people) who can effectuate some effective corrective actions.



    Check out this photo of the Twin Peaks tunnel in 1929, that location was already a Standard/Chevron station. I’m curious if there was *anything* located there before the gas station



    What is Richard doing about it other than complaining on a number of obscure blogs?

    This is not a technical problem. It’s a political problem. Someone fixated on the technical issues – useless.



    That’s what I think. Next time these jerks harass the bus, just get off, go home and get your car, pick up a few of your coworkers and drive to work. Don’t waste time with these idiots. If these protesters have any sense, go to the freeway and block cars. Don’t be cowards to harass buses.



    Richard is absolutely right about this — and a bunch of other things — and yet nobody with any pull or control over the situation seems to give a shit because lots of smart people don’t seem to know or care what to do about it either … so they just shrug their shoulders (and/or get annoyed at Richard for being a downer for repeatedly pointing it out). Useless? Shameful and sad is more like it.


    Dexter Wong

    You mean to say that no cares if the freeways are clogged with cars so long as there are no Google buses on the road? What if most of the tech companies move shop to Texas, would that make people feel better? Or would they complain about how bad things are in the Bay Area?



    There’s a tradeoff between capacity and speed. BART can run lots of trains on two tracks, but that’s because every train makes the same uniform stops. Obviously 10 slow local trains per hour are unlikely to attract many riders to SF, though I’d imagine ridership would be decent between SJ and RWC.


    Jym Dyer

    ≈ There was a problem with people being displaced during the dot-com tech bubble in the 1990s. One of the things that showed up at that time were posters by the “Mission Yuppie Eradication Project,” which advocated damaging fancy cars and SUVs. It really struck a nerve: being gunned down in the middle of a gang turf war was just an accepted risk of Mission life, but having one’s SUV vandalized was beyond the pale!

    This generation is less interested in cars, which is definitely an improvement.



    I totally agree that ridership suffers with longer trip times. The Baby Bullet trains are unchanged, and most O/D pair trip times have increased by at most two minutes. Reverse peak trains do have longer running times to SJ, but there is an argument to be made that the stations between RWC and SJ have much higher ridership potential and should be served more frequently. Mountain View, for instance, has double the ridership of SJ, and California Ave, served by one train per hour, has half of SJ’s ridership.

    Notably, I weight frequency more than trip times myself: with the advent of smartphones and increasingly worse traffic, I doubt increasing trip times by a couple of minutes will deter passengers away. In fact, giving more options and trying to redistribute loads may end up actually saving time by having the trains stop for less time.

    Obviously, the best plan going forth is the same as others have suggested: to build a 4-track segment from RWC to Hillsdale so that express trains can overtake local trains and everyone benefits, electrify trains to speed up running times, and build high-level platforms to lower station dwell times.



    Rather than fighting HSR, what we need is make it a better product. IF HSR can be priced reasonably for commuters to make the SJ to SF or Redwood City to SF trip, we could reduce the burden on Caltrain and make use of HSR capacity instead of duplicate service. But of course there are lots of IFs in there. In any case, it would be better to look at this holistically and realize what we need to do is increase capacity along the corridor or create alternatives like the HWY 101 median and start converting highway lanes to transit. [Or this would be hugely expensive, but start tunneling...]



    Trains 230 and 332 SB run at or near capacity. Train 134 runs mostly empty. Is this because the half hour later that train 134 arrives in a place like Palo Alto is the demarcation between on time and late?

    No, it’s because the ridership wants the fast train, no matter when it departs. Ridership spiked when the bullets came in. Caltrain’s corridor has a lot of underserved demand for *good* off peak service, at the very least in the shoulders of peak.



    I think you underestimate how many riders would abandon trains that go from 40 min, to 50 min to their destination….





    Every time I see one of these Google Bus articles i cringe… WHY the bus.. Would you have one of those buses or 30 private cars? Have we forgotten the cars and delivery trucks that block roads? Do you block out all the drivers that you are cursing at? People need to stop being “mode-blind” and see the bigger picture. And mass media needs to stop latching on and covering REAL news.






    I remember when there were two gas stations at Duboce & Market. These photos were taken in Sept. 1971. Not sure if it will show up in the first image, but the price board for the Standard station reads 29.9 cents per gallon. The era of cheap gasoline and usable cars for $100 or so, with no smog inspections, was one of the major factors in the decline of public transit in the 1946-1973 period.


    Andy Chow

    Almost all transit systems have peak ridership occurs during the peak hours, and that most transit systems provide more service during the peak hours.

    It is rather a policy decision not to spend limited subsidy on midday trains when Caltrain suffered a budget crunch a few years ago. I think we should revisit that decision again.

    In public policy planning, we make long term planning by basically predicting the future by using present situation/assumption and projecting out largely unchanged. However they’re almost always wrong so every bit of policy decisions can be questioned.

    At that time Caltrain almost decided to get rid of the Baby Bullets but we prevented that. If that happened then the ridership situation (especially for bikes) will be worse.


    Karen Lynn Allen

    Excellent stream of consciousness. You forgot that it’s the pedestrians’ own fault when they get hit by cars, and that bicyclists are responsible for most accidents in the city because they run stop signs and create so much general chaos that it’s no wonder drivers get confused. Bicyclists and pedestrians also create congestion because if there were no bicyclists or pedestrians, traffic could zip right along since pedestrians and bicyclists take up so much more space than cars. And if there were no buses, traffic would also go more smoothly since buses are always backing up traffic and everyone knows that one bus takes up more space than forty cars.

    And if parking was always free, then there would be so much more available. Since most cars are idle 95% of the time, 95% of all curb space should be devoted to car parking. It’s because we charge money for parking that we don’t have enough of it. It’s because we allow people to walk or bike in this city that people get hit and killed. The more people stay in their cars, the better off everyone will be because then they are protected by steel and airbags. All sidewalks and bike lanes should be ripped out, and no one should be allowed into San Francisco unless they are willing to drive everywhere they go. As to tech workers, no one should be allowed to move into San Francisco unless they are a direct descendent of the Ohlone. It’s always the new people who cause problems.


    Mario Tanev

    Most real San Franciscans use cars, because transit is not affordable and it takes too long because of the traffic created by all these bicyclists, bulb-outs, red transit-only lanes (empty most of the time, plus drivers drive in them anyway – such a failure) and shuttles. Plus a lot of San Franciscans live or work outside San Francisco, so they have to drive. Yet these techies come from outside our city uninvited and clog our freeways and neighborhoods with these luxury shuttles instead of taking the MUNI, the Bart and caltrains.

    As a 5th generation San Franciscan I drive and pay taxes. Didn’t you see that study that says that buses put more strain on the road than SUVs. Yet the bicyclists don’t pay anything and use our streets for free. You should just charge the dangerous bicyclists and the greedy corporations and focus on fixing the Muni. There need to be subways like in New York or else we won’t ride, it’s too slow. But you first have abolish the SFMTA boondoggle and make parking free since it’s public. They only waste our money on boondoggles like the Central Subway and the BRT.

    Get rid of those bulb-outs, they slow traffic and create dangers for our fire department. I like most people don’t walk, I drive because I have places to be, a family to feed, so pedestrians don’t need these bulb-outs. And stop removing parking to make them. Also, the bicyclists should stay off the road. It’s too dangerous, are they stupid? Stop giving them bicycle lanes, there are no safety issues, they should just go on the sidewalks. I walk all the time and these dangerous bicyclist almost ran me over 5 times, get off the sidewalk you idiot!



    Actually the statistic shown by this very site is that 69.5% of households in sf own cars. Also I don’t see the connection between muni and the use of public streets. The streets were paid for with tax dollars for citizens, and their cars. Once built cement and blacktop require very little care. On the other hand muni busses need, fuel, drivers, maintenance, some electricity etc. So not sure the comparison is fair. Personally I am for subsidizing almost any public service as long as it includes some kind of means testing.

    Yes I do have a point of view and I am trying to make my case. My point of view is that the city spends too much of our money in a careless fashion. That by and large the ongoing solution always seems to be to find ways to get more money out of the public, but that there is no scrutiny over how the money they already have is spent. As I’ve said before, if someone could make the case that the city was not basically robbing us blind, then I would have no issue at all.



    Well said (written)…



    That’s when you go to the operator and beg them to open the doors and just let you out as you’ll just walk the tunnel to the nearest station.


    sebra leaves

    A state law was passed last year specifically to address the issue of broken parking meters making it legal to park for the legal limit at them. If you have a problem with broken parking meters in SF talk to the SFMTA. They are responsible for fixing them. FYI: When the meters are full, they act like they are broken. Emptying the meters is part of the program.



    I ride on San Tomas occasionally on the section being widened. I asked and am told that they are going to widen the roadway 5 feet plus get rid of the median to get the extra lanes, and the bike shoulder will still exist.

    That stretch is pretty good for riding with a wide shoulder, but there is an issue in that there are several drainage grates that are not really very pleasant on a bicycle. If they are reconstructing the shoulder, here is an opportunity to improve that. Removal of the trees will actually be an upgrade, because they are Euks that drop horrendous amounts of debris.



    I didn’t discuss reverse peak service in my OP because capacity isn’t an issue yet. The problem is poor service to all stops that aren’t SF/22nd Street/Millbrae/Palo Alto/Mtn View. Frankly, the RP timetable is just inoptimal and needs to be rewritten: the timed transfers and perhaps the Baby Bullets don’t make a lot of sense, since there’s no point for any train south of RWC to run express (maybe skip a few points, but definitely not a Palo Alto – Santa Clara stretch). Quick fixes would include the following:

    - 208, 218, 228 need to make a lot more stops. California Ave, Mountain View, and Sunnyvale would probably add at least 500 new riders.

    - 206, 216, 226 trains need to stop at RWC and California Ave.

    Likewise the traditional peak timetable has to be rewritten at some point, but I didn’t nuke it yet because 4 of 5 trains have lots of riders and at this point it’s more important to redistribute loads properly to try to reduce station dwell times as much as possible (though the only way to truly fix this is to buy cars with more doors and install high-level platforms).

    I also agree that Sunnyvale, RWC, and Mountain View must be served by every single train. I didn’t do that for traditional peak service right now because I’m worried massive overcrowding will occur between Mtn View and Palo Alto. In the medium term (pre-electrification), I think NB baby bullet service needs to be standardized at SJ – Sunnyvale – Mtn View – Palo Alto – RWC – Hillsdale – SF; San Mateo and Millbrae can be served by all limited service trains meanwhile. SB baby bullet service is ultimately a flawed concept, but SF – 22nd St – Millbrae – RWC – Palo Alto – Mtn View – (maybe Sunnyvale) – SJ would be the standard stops.

    Here is an example quick fix schedule using your timetable tool.



    I think those two @ Market & Castro are the only ones left. We’re making great progress.

    Wouldn’t it be great to have a couple signature buildings framing the head of Market Street in the place of those gas stations!



    You know all this, yet it keeps happening. Useless.



    I don’t have a point of view that I am trying to confirm. I seek information and draw conclusions from that.

    Your writing indicates that you have a conclusion and are trying to produce arguments to support that conclusion.

    For example “asking working and poor folks what they think about 4.25 an hour parking on Sunday”. This argument is made up out of thin air because all of the research shows that the majority of SF residents overall, and specifically the poorer amongst us – DO NOT HAVE A CAR TO PARK – no matter what the price. If the working and poor are your concern, you should be campaigning for free MUNI on Sunday, not free meters.


    Darko Vukovic

    Worst part about this is that we will probably see the new tech bubble pop before any of the large improvements take place.



    One reason why there’s no good replacement for BoB is asymmetrical trip patterns, i.e. anything other than the typical A-B, B-A commute day. I ride Caltrain daily but almost never have an A-B, B-A Caltrain ride so bike lockers would not help at all. BABS has a chance of helping but they’d need to expand 10-20X larger in the south bay to make it viable for my daily routing. Same goes for ordinary VTA transit.

    My commute style is probably the minority but even A-B, B-A commuters will have an odd day when they need to visit the dentist or handle some other errand. This is one of the reasons so many Bay Area residents have a hard time getting rid of their car: the alternatives are often too rigid to meet ordinary travel needs. Bicycling on the other hand is just as flexible as driving. Caltrain and BART BoB tend to function as a “bicycling amplifiers”. Those BoB programs are awesome and should be expanded.



    Now, if only we could get rid of that Chevron–what the hell was the city thinking, allowing gas stations anywhere on Market St?


    Richard Mlynarik

    Agreed, but my understanding was that they literally can’t fit any more trains on the right-of-way during rush hour.

    And yet … and yet … 22 departures an hour from Embarcadero to West Oakland, today, on one single pair of tracks, by trains. That’s not even an exotic foreign not-applicable-to-special-magic-US-specific-conditions example.


    So it’s doesn’t seem to be “the right of way” that is the problem.

    Perhaps, just perhaps, it’s the grotesquely under-achieving operator of SF—SJ trains and their 19th century olde tyme “commuter railroading” mindset and their enthusiasm for spending billions of your tax dollars over decades while never actually managing to deliver improved service?



    Agreed. Caltrain’s infrequent mid-day service makes the system all but useless for me personally, despite my willingness to try and make it work repeatedly. My latest attempt this Wednesday is a case in point.

    Transit 511′s trip planner gave me an incorrect departure time for a southbound train to South San Francisco–and that’s not Caltrain’s fault. I arrived at the station as my train pulled out. I’ve had this happen to me before when using Boston’s suburban commuter rail lines, and I knew I’d have to wait a while.

    But my wait wasn’t going to merely be an inconvenience–the next train serving South SF wouldn’t depart for roughly and hour and a half! I wouldn’t be able to make my appointment. Game over.

    I rode my bike to Embarcadero BART, and rode the last mile(s) from that station. After my appointment, I missed the hourly northbound train–and simply rode my bike the 12 miles home from there. I made it home more quickly than if I’d waited an hour for the train and then rode home from the station. Caltrain Fail.



    You mean 40,000 daily boardings. But yes, you’re right–ridership has been slowly declining.