Today’s Headlines

  • Man Killed by Arrested Driver Wednesday on Van Ness ID’d as Paul Lambert, 35 (SF Weekly)
  • With BRT Four Years Away, Van Ness Not Set for Ped Safety Measures Any Time Soon (KTVU)
  • More on the Valentine’s Day Call for Vision Zero With City Officials (CBS, SF Appeal)
  • Where Did CBS 5 Get This? “Most Pedestrians Killed Were Crossing Illegally, Mid-Block”
  • Uber’s New Background Checks Still Wouldn’t Catch Record of Driver Who Killed Sofia Liu (SFBT)
  • SFMTA Considers Expanding Free Muni Passes to Low-Income Adults (KQED)
  • Meeting Next Week on Muni TEP Proposals for 6, 71 Lines in the Upper Haight (Haighteration)
  • Muni Director Defends Shoddy Hybrid Bus Purchase to Supervisors (SF Weekly)
  • New Santa Clara 49ers Stadium Plan Includes 750 Bike Parking Spaces, Valet Program (Cyclelicious)
  • Palo Alto Commission Approves Transit-Oriented Development Plan for California Ave. (PA Online)
  • Caltrain Begins Clearing Brush for Rail Bridge Replacements in San Mateo (RT&S)
  • Third Foster City Pedestrian Collision This Year Sparks Calls for Safety Measures (SM Daily Journal)

More headlines at Streetsblog USA

  • Though this maybe a little late for this year’s Valentine’s Day, I just saw a flower delivery electric-assist cargo bike traverse my street, which reminded me that there are at least two florists that make deliveries via bicycle anywhere in San Francisco.

    Supporting businesses that deliver by bicycle is is a good way to further bicycling in the city (and means one less double-parked van or delivery truck to bike around.)

    Another low carbon footprint option: pick up flowers in person from your neighborhood florist on foot or by bike.

  • voltairesmistress

    SFMTA is considering extending free MUNI to all seniors and low income persons, possibly without a means test for seniors. I believe this will devalue transit service, lead to frivolous overuse by some, and burden the system with too many passengers. If Muni were underused or its system built out and efficient and fast, then it would ATTRACT users with money for other options. As it is now, it is slow, crowded, and unpleasant, so that people who can afford a taxi, ride share, parking charges, or are healthy enough to bike tend to avoid MUNI whenever practical. Why not concentrate on building paying ridership by implementing the TEP reforms and advocating a bigger budget? After making the system worthwhile, then extend discounts and free service to all low income persons. At this point in MUNI’s dysfunction, however, expanding free rides is going to further cement the perception that MUNI is for those with no other options.

  • murphstahoe

    what exactly is “frivolous overuse”? Is that going for a ride just to experience the inside of a MUNI bus for no good reason?

    If there is any group I want to burden MUNI instead of driving a car – it’s seniors.

    I’m not super concerned about them becoming a burden on the system because I predict – and I don’t have any data to back this up – that their usage is not aligned with peak travel times.

  • ✧ CBS 5 got their factoid the same place NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton got his “peds are mostly at fault” numbers. But it’s not a place that can be mentioned in polite company.

  • coolbabybookworm

    I’m glad supervisor Campos has been grilling Muni over the break-down prone Hybrid Buses. It sounds like nothing will come of it unfortunately, but it’s better than complete silence on the subject. At least it wasn’t all local money used to buy the buses.

  • I, too, think that greater subsidies should be based on means testing rather sheerly on age. Only a quarter of San Francisco seniors are low income–defined as within 150% of poverty level income–and there is a certain section of seniors in SF that are extremely wealthy. (Of course, most of these wouldn’t ride Muni even if they were paid.) And San Francisco is already more generous with their senior discounts than most comparable transit systems–SF Muni gives a 66% percent senior discount on its monthly pass, Caltrain gives 50%, New York gives 50%, Washington DC gives 50%, Boston gives 50%/60% (per ride/monthly pass).

    In addition, SF Muni’s farebox recovery ratio at 22% is already one of just about the lowest in the known world. Here are some other ratios: Caltrain (51%), BART (65%), Wash DC (62%), NYC (56%), Minn-St. Paul (31%), LA (31%), Dallas (38%), Chicago (55%), Boston (44%), Atlanta (32%), Paris (40%), London Underground (91%), Berlin (70%), Amsterdam (41%), Beijing (60%). Astonishingly, even our $6 a ride cable cars have no better than a 50% farebox recovery ratio. Poor farebox recovery is one of the reasons why Muni struggles to keep up with maintenance. Eliminating the $23/month for seniors will inevitably reduce it even further. How about we give low income seniors free passes but raise the rates of all other seniors to 50% of the regular fare, or $33?

    An easy way San Francisco could increase its farebox recovery ratio: most systems throughout the world charge extra for those not using a Clipper-type card–anywhere from $.25 to $2 per trip! Yes, this is totally to make money off tourists, but San Francisco is leaving money on the table by not charging an extra $1 per single trip to anyone not using a Clipper card.

    (As a side note, just because it makes me crazy: our cable cars have low farebox recovery ratios not because of the $6 fare, but because we insanely include 7 days UNLIMITED free cable car rides as part of the City Pass. For $84 adult/$59 child, this city pass gives not only 7 days unlimited cable car rides (is it any wonder the lines are horrendously long at Powell?) and 7 days free access to the rest of Muni, but also entrance the Cal Academy of Sciences, a cruise on the Bay, admission to Monterey Bay Aquarium or the Aquarium of the Bay, and admission to the Exploratorium or the DeYoung. How much does SF Muni get out of that $84? I’m guessing less than $10. The City Pass should be changed to offer unlimited 7 days of Muni (I am delighted not to have tourists drive around the city) but only one or two free cable car rides at most. Then full paying customers who didn’t see lines half a mile long might have an incentive to ride and make the cable cars close to self-funding.)

  • voltairesmistress

    By frivolous overuse, I guess I mean any able bodied person hopping a bus for four or five blocks rather than walking, just because it is free. I am conservative enough to believe that all of us value what we pay for and take for granted that which we haven’t paid anything toward. For that reason, I want to be very sparing with free MUNI, although I am for highly discounted fares for low income people of any age.

  • thielges

    Indeed. Also a bicyclist or pedestrian carrying a bunch of flowers sends positive messages to others on the street: not only that everyone likes flowers but also that you can conduct your life without a car.

    If you’re on a bike be sure to wrap the bunch of flowers up in a cone of paper higher than the blossoms, otherwise the wind can beat the petals off.

  • I think the impetus to give seniors free transit is due to the mythology in the US that seniors are great deal poorer than everyone younger than them and so much more in need of subsidized services. While this was true fifty years ago, seniors have grown significantly wealthier in the ensuing years, their incomes rising a great deal faster than everyone else’s. In fact, the poorest age bracket today in terms of household incomes is now those between the ages of 15-24.

    In 1967, those over 65 had household incomes only 33% of those in the top household income by age bracket. (See attached graph.) Translated into 2012 dollars, seniors had incomes of $18K/year while those in the top brackets had incomes of $55K/year. (Both 45 -54 years olds and 35-44 year olds had this level of income.) Even the 15 – 24 year old set had incomes of $34K back then. These kids/young people were way wealthier than the seniors! In fact, they had incomes that were 62% of the top age bracket. And the 25-34 year old crowd had incomes of $48K–87% of the top age bracket. The 55-64 year old crowd was just below the 25 -34 year old crowd with incomes of $42K that put them at 76% of the top bracket. So you can see seniors really were struggling back then, quite a bit poorer than everyone else including your average 20 year old.

    Times have changed. Seniors’ median income (again, in 2012 dollars) has seen an increase of $15K, putting them at $33K–49% of the top bracket. (The top bracket of 45-54 year olds has seen an increase of only $12K.) Whereas young people 15 – 24 have seen their incomes *fall* in real terms by $4K to $30K, which drops them from 62% of the top bracket to 45%. Young people are now poorer than seniors, although not nearly as poor as seniors were long ago.

    Another interesting anomaly is that the 55-64 year olds have changed places with the 25-34 year olds in terms of relative standing. The 55-64 year old median income had the biggest jump of all groups, $16K (from $42K to $58K), while the 25 – 34 year olds have increased only $4K, from ($48 K to $52K.) So all in all, older people have fared much better the past 50 years than the younger ones, economically speaking.