Today’s Headlines

  • Driver Hospitalizes Bicycle Rider in the Richmond, Flees, Gets Arrested (CBS)
  • SFBC Continues to Call on Supporters to Urge Mayor, SFMTA Board to Make SoMa Streets Safer
  • Man Relays Account of “Gnarly” Tenderloin Crash After Man Runs Into Road; Driver Leaves (MM)
  • CBS On Rising Pedestrian Injuries: “One-Third of the Collisions Were Their Fault”
  • Motorcyclist Sues City Over Firefighter Who Hit Him While Allegedly Driving Truck Drunk (SFGate)
  • SFPD Shares the Faces of Known Bike Thieves and the Tools They Use (KTVU)
  • More Photos Turned Up of Cesar Chavez (Army) Street Before It Was Widened (Bernalwood)
  • Purchase of 50 New Hybrid Muni Buses Approved by Board of Supervisors (SFMTA)
  • Survey Finds Bay Area Transit Riders Really Unsatisfied; SF Weekly Offers Some Silly Reasons Why
  • Geneva-Harney BRT CAC Needs a Member (D10); An Overview of the State of Geary BRT (SPUR)
  • Half of Giants Fans Get to the Ballpark Without a Car (Peninsula Transpo)
  • In Mountain View, Making El Camino Real Bike-Friendly Will Be an “Uphill Battle” (Peninsula Press)

More headlines at Streetsblog Capitol Hill

  • mikesonn

    There was a ped hit on Hyde in the TL yesterday.

  • mikesonn

    1/2 the fans at AT&T drive to get there? Ya’ll crazy!!

  • mikesonn

    Also, SFWeekly: Take #7 and shove it. Stupid weekly is stupid.

  • Anonymous

    that’s the mission mission story

  • mikesonn

    Oops, missed that. Thanks.

  • Andy Chow

    Unlike regular commuting, people who are going to special events (ballgame, concerts, etc) are generally willing to spend a lot more on transportation. Since providing extra transit service to these events is expensive, it would be unwise to lower the fares for folks that don’t need one. Transit agencies should keep fares low for those who use transit frequently and instead focus on providing high quality service for special events.

    Also, the private sector (charter buses, etc) can add a lot of transit capacity for special events at a time where resources at public transit agencies are limited (like weekday peak hours). Planning for transportation for those events should include the private sector so that impact on transit for everyone else is minimized.

    For many years, Muni has provided special bus service to Candlestick at a premium fare. This season all special 49ers service now charges regular fares because of a change of interpretation of the charter bus regulation by the federal government (after receiving a complaint by a private charter bus company). The buses are still packed as before (and probably carry no more folks than it did before) even though taxpayers have the burden more of the cost of special service.

    Muni could’ve discontinue the service and have the private sector take over, but SFMTA would have no say over fares and other service aspects that would maximize usage of service, reduce impacts, while collecting a reasonable amount of revenue. Muni cannot just contract the service to a private company because of union issues. I think there should be a change in the regulations so that public agencies don’t have to choose between doing nothing or having to fully subsidize a costly but needed service. This only affects bus and does not apply to rail and ferry, so both can charge special event fares even though it may compete with private bus service.

  • Anonymous

    The Giants should add $2 to the cost of every ballgame ticket, give that money to the transit agencies, and ownership of said Giants ticket should be valid for free travel in the direction of the ballpark until 1 hour after first pitch, and away from the ballpark from first pitch until 4 hours after the game.

    The people who choose to drive will subsidize the people who don’t, but in turn this reduces demand on parking, which in the limit would mean that parking concessionaires charge less.

  • Greg

    SF already applies a 25% parking tax to all Giants parking. At, say, $30 for parking, that means SF is getting $5+ per car that drives to the Giants game. This is, of course, on top of the property tax the owners pay to SF for the parking lots.

    I agree that transit to the games should be free but does the city need more money to do that? What is particularly nuts is that SF charges extra for the special buses to 49ers game – and the BART SFO surcharge. That is exactly the wrong approach – we want to discourage driving to games/SFO.

  • Andy Chow

    The premium charge is fair. Consider this, Muni and other transit agencies do not have unlimited vehicles and drivers to move all or even most of the people going to these events. If Muni can pack the buses to 49ers games while charging premium fare, Muni cannot move significantly more people by lowering its fares. That’s means nothing but loss revenue, and requiring more tax funding that could’ve been used to provide more basic daily service.

    People who get stranded at Muni stops will rather pay for a taxi ride and get there on time than to pay $2 and miss the show or game.

    Muni should not be in a position to compromise regular transit service to serve special events. Also, if people are that price sensitive on transportation costs (whether it is parking or transit fares), they won’t be the ones who will spend even more money to go to a show or game that they could listen on the radio or watch on TV for free.

    The focus ought to be providing efficient and positive experience to those who choose to take transit to these events. AT&T Park is doing well because of its proximity to BART and especially Caltrain. BART and Caltrain riders do not have to endure packed loads and traffic that buses do.

  • Andy Chow

    The same goes for SFO, if people are going to a place irregularly where they’re going to spend hundreds of dollars more on (as supposed to go there for work), they generally are willing to pay more on transportation. The issue again is riding experience. BART in general is good for airport travel but people in certain demographics will rather pay more so that they don’t have to transfer vehicles or walk for blocks with their baggage.

    Some airport travelers do ride SamTrans local bus from SFO to SF for $2, but most will rather pay more and ride BART. That surcharge has helped to improve the extension’s finances when before that the operating subsidy almost bankrupted SamTrans.

  • Anonymous

    I read somewhere that the number has actually increased since the park opened– apparently, in the beginning it was understood that parking would be terrible and most people used other methods, but over time people learned of new places to park, and perhaps nearby lots catered more to fans, and so they started driving again.

  • Anonymous

    The premium charge is fair. Consider this, Muni and other transit
    agencies do not have unlimited vehicles and drivers to move all or even
    most of the people going to these events.

    Niners games start at 4 PM on Sunday and end at 7:30 PM. MUNI has PLENTY of vehicles to take a bunch of Niners fans to the games, if they can handle several times the capacity of Candlestick Park on any given day.
    25% of the Giants games start just after weekday rush, but even if *every* Giants fan to a sold out game took MUNI, it would only add 10% to the total daily ridership. And we know that isn’t true.

    Let’s put it this way. The fare revenue from Giants fans has pretty much saved Caltrain’s ass.

  • Anonymous

    Some airport travelers do ride SamTrans local bus from SFO to SF for $2, but most will rather pay more and ride BART.

    If you surveyed San Mateo County originating SFO passengers if SamTrans went to SFO, 75% would say “What is SamTrans”?

  • Anonymous

    I agree that transit to the games should be free but does the city need more money to do that?

    At this point, the various transit agencies are counting on that fare revenue. You can’t make it free without putting a dent in their budgets, especially Caltrain.

    Making it free for ticket holders probably won’t increase ridership that much, a $2 surcharge on tickets would make it mostly revenue neutral but would save a lot of headaches and money on fare sales/enforcement.

  • mikesonn

    The KX is $5 from SFO to SF and you can’t bring luggage. The KX from the peninsula to SFO is $2 (I think, I use my Caltrain 2-zone pass which gives me a month samTrans).

  • Andy Chow

    Well there are some Monday and Thursday night games along with games happening on days where there are other events like Outside Lands, America’s Cup, Fleet Week, or Giants. Even if they can get the drivers they all will be paid at an overtime rate.

    The 4pm start time you talked about is actually East Coast time and most Sunday games start at 1:25pm with some Sunday night games. The game times are planned around NFL broadcasting schedule to increase TV ratings.

    For Giants night games, that coincide with the afternoon peak. Most night games start at 7:15pm or so, but people would want to head there at 4 or 5pm, the same time that people getting off work. For day games, they could end at 4pm to 5pm again coincide with the afternoon peak. Some regular Caltrain customers avoid the train on those days just because they don’t like the baseball crowd. Caltrain does not provide special baseball trains during the weekday peak hours.

    If every Giants fan took Muni, it would be far more than 10% of the total ridership if you measure it only during the period before and after the game. While the place may be crowded during the event, it is quiet the rest of the day with low transportation demand. It is different than say an airport where it also serves a lot of people but is doing so throughout the day.

    Indeed fare revenue from the fans helped save Caltrain. While Caltrain does not specifically charge a premium fare for those riders, they tend to buy the most expensive type (one way or day pass paper ticket) rather than using Clipper or monthly pass. Lowering or cutting train fares for the baseball fans won’t help to increase ridership (given limited capacity) and would certainly not help to improve transit experience.

    From an environmental perspective, it would be far more productive to boost transit usage for daily commuting, where people tend to drive alone, do so everyday, and sensitive to price. For events people tend to carpool (thus lowering the carbon footprint for each person), do so occasionally, and are not sensitive to price (considering how much more expensive food is inside the venue).

  • Andy Chow

    KX now permits luggage between SF and airport. The rule was in place when a private company ran scheduled airporter bus between SFO and downtown. When BART got extended the airporter discontinued so there’s no direct private “competition”.

  • Anonymous

    Caltrain is basically standing room only on game day afternoons between 5 & 6:30. They could add 2 cars (one bike one non-bike) to each of those trains and see an increase in ridership to the games.
    From inside the city, I bet the N-Judah has to absorb most of the game-day rides. They would need to add extra inbound trains on game day, or express buses.

  • mikesonn

    This rule seems to have just been rescinded in May. The fare is still $5 from SFO into the city.

  • Anonymous

    Doesn’t matter. The KX in SF runs down Mission and down 9th? 10th? BART runs the entire length of Market and then through a dense residential area with a catchment of people.

    I’ve ridden the KX several times – almost always due to a Caltrain malfunction. Even with a couple of Caltrain refugees ridership into SF is usually just a few people. The only people who know about that bus are transit junkies or transit dependent.

  • Anonymous

    “If every Giants fan took Muni, it would be far more than 10% of the total ridership if you measure it only during the period before and after the game.”

    But this doesn’t make sense. If someone is coming from Redwood City their choice is Caltrain. If someone is coming from Marin they can take the ferry. The choice of Muni depends on where you’re travelling from.

    This all started with SF giving the Giants responsibility for their impact on city streets. Now that the Warriors are planning to come to the waterfront as well, the question is whether the Giants and Warriors should both need to get driving down further.

  • Anonymous

    Caltrain is in the market for extra train cars. But the current diesel trains get less efficient if you add more cars. When Caltrain is electrified (scheduled for 2019) they will be able to add more cars easily, as long as platforms are long enough for people to get on and off.

  • Andy Chow

    Basically what I meant is that existing transit does not have the capacity to absorb the ridership demand for these events. In order to increase the transit capacity, there will be additional costs involved and that it is fair for the customers to absorb that cost.

    This is not regular commute where something like Eco Pass can fill up otherwise underutilized bus seats. This is about events that buses and trains will be packed with people paying full or premium fares. Unless you can increase capacity while maintaining the riding experience, you won’t be able to reduce driving further.

    I am not too concerned about Warriors’ impact. The stadium size is smaller than Giants (NBA stadium size is about 1/2 of baseball, and 1/3 of NFL, and comparable to hockey) and their reasons generally do not conflict. NBA generally have night games which commuter parking in downtown can be used by the fans at night, which is less problematic than with baseball where there are plenty of weekday daytime games.

  • Anonymous

    Why is going to a ball game a less protected class of transit use than any other? If the regular commute on Caltrain is becoming packed, should commuters pay a premium fare?

    Existing roadways and parking are far less capable of absorbing the ridership demand for these events. And for all the complaining that riders do about the Giants fans, the systems are frankly doing a pretty good job of absorbing demand for Giants games. The problems mostly come for weekend events where there isn’t enough service to begin with. Add in something like Maker Fair or Hardly Strictly and it becomes a problem. Which is easily solvable wiht more trains.

  • Andy Chow

    Regular commute behavior is shaped by what transportation/parking infrastructure and transit service that we put in it. Changing commute behavior is the most difficult because people do it everyday, are much more price sensitive, and they don’t go all to one site (i.e. more complex planning is needed), but the benefit of doing so is much greater because a lot of people commute all the time.

    There’s no issue if people can use regular existing transit to go to special events, but if the demand is so much that it requires special service, it is fair for those riders to pay a premium to support it, because they’re willing to pay for it. You’re implying that if it is more expensive people won’t ride it, which is not true. We all know that transit resource and funding are limited so we need to know which areas deserve more public subsidy.

    I can tell you that even with multiple large events happening on a weekend, the traffic and parking isn’t as bad overall compared to weekday peak hours. People tend to carpool and heed the advice to use transit. Part of the reason why some locations like Candlestick have much higher auto use is that they rely on the highway capacity built around for weekday traffic, as along as they have parking (which is a huge revenue generator for the venue rather than a loss leader like at shopping mall and large office park) then people will drive.

    Folks that take transit (or limos/taxis) are those who don’t have cars, are tourists, like to drink before going, and don’t like to pay for parking or endure traffic in and out of the lot (it can take a hour just to get out of the parking lot). Some people prefer to park their cars much farther away and then walk or take transit. The mode share for non-auto use can be much higher if there’s more amenities around the venue (a lot of stadiums have nothing but parking around the venue), transit availability, parking availability and cost, and the desire of the venue to generate revenue through parking and concession.