Today’s Headlines

  • Transit Activists Rally for City Hall to Fund Downtown Extension for Caltrain, High-Speed Rail (SF Appeal)
  • Tuesday: North Beach Neighbors Meeting on Bulb-Outs, Hated By NBN Prez and Firefighters (Hoodline)
  • Sup. Wiener Proposes Reducing Towing, Storage Fees for Recovered Stolen Cars (KQED)
  • SFPD Tenderloin Captain Steps Down Citing “Personal Matters” (SF Examiner)
  • Getaround Car-Share to Get a Promotion Boost From Ford Motors (Business Times)
  • Caltrain Board to Vote on Design of Electric Train Cars July 2; SFBC Pushes for Bike Capacity
  • BART Considers Re-Opening Bathrooms With Some Security Modifications (SFGate, ABC)
  • BART West Dublin/Pleasanton Station Closed Yesterday After Death on Tracks (IBAABC)
  • Ferry Fares Set to Increase on July 1 (ABC), Along With Golden Gate Bridge Tolls (Mercury)
  • More on the Plan for a Richmond-San Rafael Bridge Bike/Ped Path, Additional Traffic Lane (CBS)
  • Sausalito Officials Don’t Want More Ferry Service, People (Marin IJ)
  • Lyft Protests Regulations for Airport Access Approved By San Jose City Council (SFBay)

More headlines at Streetsblog USA

  • gneiss

    On the letter that Sausalito sent to the Park service, the Mayor’s primary complaint is that it would bring more bicycle traffic. Good grief. The ferry service isn’t even to downtown, it’s to Fort Baker. And bicyclists crossing the bridge then would be able to go directly from Fort Baker to San Francisco and Alcatraz, allowing people to not need to ride into town to pick up a ferry. Having regular, frequent service will just make it more likely that people will take the ferry from here rather than in town. If anything it would reduce bicycle traffic along the trickiest point of the route on Alexander. And lets not forget that the bicycle route from the GGB to Fort Baker follows Cozelman Road, which isn’t accessible to cars from the bridge.

    Is he thinking that daily commuters would go to Fort Baker instead of using the Ferry in Sausalito proper? Really, I cannot believe these guys. The National Park Service should just go tell them to pound sand. It’s none of their business what they use that harbor for, as it doesn’t even belong to the town, is actively used by the Coast Guard already, and has a marina attached to it.

    The bias of the public officials in the town is getting to be nothing short of ludicrous.

  • mx

    It’s absurd for airport officials to regulate TNCs beyond reasonable restrictions on the orderly use of airport property (e.g. what curbs can be used, where vehicles should wait, prohibiting solicitation of passengers, etc…). Issues like insurance and background checks should be handled at the state level, which is already happening.

    Airport managers, who operate free public curbs where anybody with a car and pickup and drop-off their passengers, have become the most entitled control freaks when it comes to transportation services. Why should passengers pay airports trip fees when taking taxis and TNCs? If I hail a cab at City Hall or take one to the Marriott, I don’t somehow have to pay the City or hotel for the privilege, so why should airports get paid?

  • murphstahoe

    I feel the opposite. The airport entrance should be a toll road and *everyone* pays.

  • mx

    But we already do that in the form of the facility fees that are part of every airline ticket in addition to the gate rental fees, fuel surcharges, and other fees paid by airlines to airports (these costs must be recouped from passengers as part of ticket prices). Since the vast majority of people going to the airport either work there or plan to fly, passengers are already paying the airport for its services.

    Functionally, it’s the same thing as a toll to enter the airport, but collection via airline tickets is far more efficient.

  • murphstahoe

    It’s not functionally the same. People who take BART, full shuttle buses, carpool, etc… should pay less towards this portion of the infrastructure than those who are less efficient.

  • Andy Chow

    CPUC regulation explicitly allows airport to regulate commercial transportation in addition to what CPUC already does. Airports traditionally have been a magnet for private providers whereas most private sectors have abandoned other markets (and where public providers took over). For example, a private company Monterey Airbus provides transportation between SFO, SJC, and Monterey, but Monterey-Salinas Transit provides transportation between the train station in San Jose and Monterey.

    Because of that, airport is also a magnet for illegal operation. Airport authorities have assisted CPUC to rat out illegal operators.

    Airports certainly have a responsibility of how they want to regulate traffic. Large airports like LAX and SFO have congestion issues. If they support a scheduled private bus service (like the Monterey Airbus) to help address the traffic issue, it is in their interest to protect that company from excessive competition. So if you want to provide a similar service, you may get a permit from the CPUC but not the airports. Because airport charges taxis serving the airports, it is in their interest to protect taxis from illegal competition, including limos that are legal to operate but cannot solicit riders who aren’t booked.

    Airports also use such authority to achieve their air quality goals. SFO for instance charges a different rate for CNG buses than diesel buses. So hotel shuttles that serve SFO generally are CNG fueled.

  • Andy Chow

    The financial goal for airport transportation is different than other types of transportation. The goal for airport transportation is full cost recovery from user fees (plus contribution to the airport). If you drive, airport expects you for pay for the cost of parking, if you take a taxi, the taxi driver expects you to pay for the operating costs, and the airport also takes a cut. With that in mind, that’s why BART collects a $4 surcharge at SFO and $6 at OAK.

    Cheaper transportation options exist with AC Transit and SamTrans, but both are geared towards employees (who deserve transportation subsidy like non-airport workers) but open to everyone. Sometimes airports subsidize scheduled bus transportation to address congestion and equity issues, but they wouldn’t subsidize car or van transportation that are door-to-door, which are still profitable.

    Airport may be government operated but it runs on a for-profit principle. How else would it be why food at the airport costs more than outside?

  • baklazhan

    Ok, but then passengers pay that toll regardless of whether they are driven there or take Bart or a bus. And so they have no incentive to take mass transit, and so there’s a congestion problem.

  • Andy Chow

    Airlines oppose higher landing fees to pay for improvements that could be collected through user fees. They wouldn’t want to absorb costs that can be passed to the customers through other means.

    In the past, air fare includes checked baggage and on board meals. The’re not longer included for domestic flights.

  • mx

    To put it simply, the financial goal for airport transportation is to milk the transportation sector as dry as possible because the airport has a monopoly on a place people want to get to/from. Some examples:

    – SFO charges BART $2.5 million/year in rent for the airport station, plus an additional $800,000 or so in “custodial fees” (you really can’t keep the most tidy BART station in the whole system clean for less than $800K?). That’s a great use of public transit funds, which could be better spent either reducing the SFO surcharge or on, say, providing transportation.

    – SFO charges $5/trip for taxis, which is estimated to bring in close to $10 million this year. In no possible situation should it cost the airport $10 million/year to cover the costs of providing the taxi lot (pavement, picnic table, restroom) and a couple of employees to summon cabs to the terminals (a job handled by taxi companies in some cities). These fees have also increased close to 50% in the last couple of years. I’m far from a legal scholar and don’t know how airport authorities are covered, but I’d be curious whether there’s a Prop 218 issue here in fact.

    BART, taxis, TNCs, buses, etc… are not some kind of drain on the airport where their negative impacts must be paid for. The airport would surely suffer greatly if it only permitted passengers to arrive on foot or by bike, because these are the ways in which the airport’s customers arrive at the airport.

    Here, SJC wants to go well beyond reasonable rules in setting insurance and background check standards for TNC drivers to access the airport. If the standards are too low, that should be addressed at the state or at least the city level, not property by property. What’s next? The Department of Public Health requiring all taxi drivers dropping off clinic visitors have to wear pink fedoras? It makes about as much sense.

    Airports have set a fee of $0 to cover their costs when a private driver picks up or drops off a passenger at the curb. Surely their reasonable costs for a taxi or TNC doing the same activity can’t be very large.

  • Andy Chow

    It is about supply and demand. Plenty of companies want to serve airports because it is good money. There’s nothing wrong with airports asking to share part of that revenue. This is no different with higher rents for retail in highly trafficked areas. If you’re a driver, it is a cost of doing business. If you think the cost and the hassle is high enough not to do it, then don’t. For example I don’t have an airport permit and I don’t go to airports. A lot of companies only apply airport permits to parts of its fleet, and make sure that their employees don’t take unpermitted vehicles to airports

    I don’t think SJC is doing apply any rules stricter than that has applied to taxis to TNCs that are not already required by the state. The $1 million insurance requirement was set by CPUC because that was what the TNCs have agreed to (only kicks on after the driver have used his or her insurance, after paying for deductible). What the TNCs are complaining about is the airport is setting a requirement that doesn’t give complete freedom to TNCs, or actually the same as taxis.

    TNCs business model is we do whatever the hell we want and however we want to do it. They undercut and underpay to compete with permitted vehicles. All the VCs money is being spent on lawyers, lobbyists, and coders to essentially exploit drivers (those who work for TNCs and those who don’t). Since they claim they have so much money, why not just buy the entire taxi fleet everywhere? Of course, that means spending money on actual transportation operation, which is not what they do.