Posts Tagged ‘fee’

Brace Yourselves, Transit Riders: “$3 Acquisition Fee for New Adult Clipper Cards Takes Effect Sept. 1, 2012″

Tuesday, August 21st, 2012

Sounds fair enough.

I had a Clipper Card once:

Turns out that it couldn’t handle a simple two-day acetone bath, you know, the better to help see what’s inside.

Actually that was the predecessor to the Clipper, the Translink. Same basic thing though. Now here’s a real Clipper in a flashlight shot to show you where the heart is, that dark square at the bottom:

I think I got it for free.

I think I gave it away.

Anyway, all the deets:

“$3 Acquisition Fee for New Adult Clipper® Cards Takes Effect Sept. 1 - Fee Will Cover Costs, Encourage Long-Term Use

OAKLAND, Calif., Aug. 20, 2012 – Beginning September 1, 2012, new Adult Clipper cards will cost $3. As an incentive for customers to try automatically reloading their Clipper cards, Clipper will waive the $3 fee for customers who sign up for the Autoload feature when they order a card online at clippercard.com.

The new $3 fee is only for new Adult Clipper cards; Youth and Senior Clipper cards remain free, and the fee for a Regional Transit Connection Clipper card, for transit riders with qualifying disabilities, remains $3.

Clipper is the reloadable card that allows Bay Area transit riders to load cash value and monthly passes over the phone, online at clippercard.com and at a variety of retail locations, including most Bay Area Walgreens stores. Clipper is accepted on San Francisco Muni, BART, Golden Gate Transit and Ferry, Caltrain, SamTrans, AC Transit, Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA), Dumbarton Express, and San Francisco Bay Ferry (currently only on the South San Francisco/East Bay route).

Clipper cards have been free since the transit card program launched in June 2010. Clipper provided the cards free of charge over the past two years as an incentive for the hundreds of thousands of Bay Area transit riders to try the card. The incentive appears to have been successful, with more than 15 million trips taken using Clipper cards in July 2012. On an average weekday, transit riders take more than 600,000 trips using the card.

“We want to encourage people to keep their cards, reload them automatically and use them for a long time, rather than throwing them out and getting new ones,” said Carol Kuester, director of the Metropolitan Transportation Commission’s Electronic Payment section. “Charging a fee for the card also helps us be better stewards of public funds.”

Clipper offers convenience by keeping track of passes, discount tickets, ride books and cash value that customers load onto it, while automatically applying all applicable fares, discounts and transfer rules. Since Clipper cards can be registered for added security, customers whose cards are lost or stolen can have their card replaced and balance restored for a fee. Clipper customers with questions about their Clipper account can log in to their accounts at clippercard.com or call Clipper Customer Service at 877-878-8883 or TDD/TYY: 711 or 800-735-2929.

Clipper is a project of the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC), the transportation planning, financing and coordinating agency for the nine-county San Francisco Bay Area.  A question-and-answer page about the $3 Clipper card acquisition fee may be found on the MTC Web site at http://www.mtc.ca.gov/news/press_releases/rel575.htm.

SOURCE  Metropolitan Transportation Commission

Metropolitan Transportation Commission”

Attention Shoppers: Grocery Stores to Start Charging for Bags October 1, 2012 – BYOB – Bring Your Own Bag

Monday, August 13th, 2012

This new tax is a done deal.

Check it: 

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Wow, Those SmartMeter Crazies Almost Make Me Feel Sorry for PG&E, America’s Worst Big Utility Company – But Opt Out If You Want

Thursday, February 2nd, 2012

Well, here it is, your brand new PG&E SmartMeter opt-out option.

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David R. Baker was on the scene at the big CPUC meeting yesterday, actually engaging with the crazies, so check that out if you want.

And if you think that a SmartMeter has ANYTHING AT ALL to do with your health (and, oh yes, you yourself are somehow particularly affected by infinitesimal amounts of additional non-ionizing radiation in your life, I hear what you are saying) you’re barking up the wrong tree. People who don’t tell you that are just patronizing you, just saying.

Now here’s what PG&E has to say. Enjoy:

“SAN FRANCISCO, Feb. 1, 2012 — Residential electric and gas customers who have concerns about wireless technology can now choose either a new SmartMeter(TM) or a traditional analog meter, following the final decision today by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC). Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) supports the CPUC’s decision and will respond quickly to customers who opt-out of the utility’s SmartMeter(TM) program.

“We know personal choice is important to our customers when it comes to the meters on their homes,” said Helen Burt, PG&E’s Senior Vice President and Chief Customer Officer. “This final decision in support of analog meters is a positive step forward for those who have concerns over wireless technology. We understand some customers have been waiting for this decision, and we are actively reaching out to those who have expressed their desire for a SmartMeter(TM) alternative.”

PG&E is installing digital, wireless SmartMeters(TM) throughout its service area in Northern and Central California as part of a statewide effort to help customers save on their bills by offering them more control over their energy usage, improve reliability and customer service, and conserve natural resources to help the environment. As part of a global effort to modernize the energy grid and transform it into a digital network that will deliver more reliable power to homes and businesses, similar metering programs are now underway at utilities throughout the country and around the world. To date, PG&E has installed nearly nine million gas and electric SmartMeters(TM), on its way to about 10 million meters in 2012.

Independent studies repeatedly have affirmed the safety and accuracy of SmartMeters(TM). However, in response to comments from some customers, PG&E in March 2011 proposed offering them a choice to turn off the radios in their SmartMeters(TM), and then provided customers with the option to delay the installation of new SmartMeters(TM) pending the CPUC’s final decision. In December 2011, PG&E asked the CPUC to approve analog meters as another alternative to receiving a SmartMeter(TM), which was the central element of the CPUC’s decision today.

Burt added, “The vast majority of our customers are already seeing the many benefits of SmartMeters(TM). By choosing to stay with our program, our customers will continue having control by seeing where they can save energy throughout the course of the day and making simple but effective changes around the home to save money.”

PG&E customers who want to opt-out of the SmartMeter(TM) program can submit their request online at www.pge.com/smartmeteroptout or call 1-866-743-0263. PG&E plans to remove the gas and electric SmartMeters(TM) from the homes of those opt-out customers who already have SmartMeters(TM); those customers who still have analog meters will be able to keep them.

The CPUC’s final decision requires customers who opt-out of the program to pay a $75 initial setup charge and a $10 monthly charge. This will cover the costs of manual meter-reading and associated operational and billing issues. Income-qualified customers will pay a $10 initial setup charge and $5 a month.

Pacific Gas and Electric Company, a subsidiary of PG&E Corporation (NYSE:PCG), is one of the largest combined natural gas and electric utilities in the United States. Based in San Francisco, with 20,000 employees, the company delivers some of the nation’s cleanest energy to 15 million people in Northern and Central California. For more information, visit http://www.pge.com/about/newsroom/.

SOURCE  Pacific Gas and Electric Company”

Hurray! Chase Bank Announces it Won’t Charge Customers a Monthly Debit Card Fee – Thanks Chase!

Friday, October 28th, 2011

Say what you will about our corporate overlords at Morgan Chase, you can’t deny that they can tell which way the winds are blowing these days.

Proof of that is this announcement, below.

My favorite Chase Bank is the one on Oak and Divisadero. Isn’t it kewl? 

Click to expand

That’s right, it’s hella cool.

On a somewhat serious note, thanks for Chase Community Giving, Chase. That’s better than spending your money on a Super Bowl commercial or whathaveyou.

(But don’t get on my bad side, Chase, else it will be smashy smashy like what happened to your nearby competitor on Fell a couple Halloweens back.)

Anyway, you all can join the boycott,* I don’t care. As long as the Chase customers can have their bank branch on Oak, that’s fine.

Or take your money to a credit union, I don’t care.

And, oh, goran nasai, Amerika no Ginkoo. Mite, mite:

“Chase Announces it Won’t Charge Customers a Debit Card Fee - Consumers Union Calls On Bank of America to Drop its Plan to Charge a $5 Fee for Debit Card Purchases

SAN FRANCISCO, Oct. 28, 2011 — JP Morgan Chase announced today that it will not charge its customers a $3 monthly debit card fee after testing the charge in Wisconsin and Georgia.  The bank announced that it would drop the idea following negative reaction from its customers.

Consumers Union, the nonprofit advocacy arm of Consumer Reports, today commended Chase for its decision and reiterated its call on Bank of America to end its plan to charge a $5 debit card fee beginning in 2012.

“Consumers Union has heard from thousands of consumers across the country who are outraged that Bank of America is instituting the $5 monthly debit card fee,” said Norma Garcia, manager of Consumers Union’s financial services program.  “It’s time for Bank of America to listen to its customers who are saying loud and clear: drop the fee or we’ll drop you.  All banks that are considering debit card fees should ditch those plans.”

SunTrust has also started rolling out a similar debit card fee and Wells Fargo has been testing one in select markets.  Earlier this month, Consumers Union called on Chase, Bank of America and these other banks to abandon plans to charge customers a fee for debit card purchases.

“It’s unfair for banks to stick consumers with a monthly fee just to use their own money,” said Garcia.  “The banks that charge debit card fees risk losing customers who are fed up with financial institutions that got bailed out that are now turning around and hiking fees.”

Consumers Union has published a set of tips for consumers who want to switch banks.

Saturday, November 5, has been dubbed Bank Transfer Day by grassroots activists upset with rising bank fees, including the new $5 debit card fee that Bank of America will start charging its customers in 2012. Consumers are being encouraged by Bank Transfer Day organizers to switch their accounts to credit unions or community banks on that day.

SOURCE  Consumers Union”

Oh, there’s an updated version of this release. See it after the jump.

*Facebook, really? Heh. Home of the ephemeral…

(more…)

Fishermans Wharf is Just Like Burning Man, But For Cars

Wednesday, August 24th, 2011

See? They all gather together for some big party, looks like.

And then they all sort of circle around

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How many cars do you count?

Oh Hell Yes: UCSF Allows Emergency Room Check-In Online – Wait Just 15 Minutes with InQuickER Service at Parnassus

Tuesday, July 26th, 2011

The average wait for an emergency room visit at UCSF‘s Parnassus Heights campus is 4.5 hours for people with mild medical emergencies? Wow.

Wouldn’t it be nicer to pay $5 to check-in online and then wait at home rather than in the ER?

That’s what UCSF thinks.

Check it:

“UCSF patients with minor medical needs seeking treatment in the Emergency Department now can make an appointment to be seen – waiting at home rather in the hospital – via a new online check-in service called InQuickER.

UCSF Medical Center
UCSF Medical Center is now offering patients with mild medical emergencies a chance to reserve a time to be seen in the Emergency Department using a new online system.

UCSF Medical Center’s Emergency Department (ED) at Parnassus Heights is now offering InQuickER designed for patients with non-threatening minor medical needs.

UCSF patients can register online for a $4.99 fee and pick an open slot for an emergency room visit. The fee will be refunded if they’re not seen within 15 minutes.

In April, UCSF did a trial run with the online service, which 22 people used. UCSF Medical Center launched the system a few weeks ago.

“One thing we encountered during the trial was that a lot of patients were using it inappropriately,” said Jennifer Dearman, the Emergency Department’s patient care manager. “The online registration is screened by ED nurses and we have had to advise some patients to come directly to the ED. This service is for a fast-track kind of patient.”

“For example, a cancer patient on chemotherapy with a fever can have complicated issues and should be seen in the regular ED, so InQuickER is not appropriate for that person.”

Waiting at Home vs. Hospital

About 105 patients a day visit the emergency room at UCSF Medical Center on the Parnassus campus, Dearman said, and the average time between arrival and departure, for those not admitted to the hospital, is four-and-a-half hours.

That’s in keeping with the average wait in 2009 for ER patients throughout California: four hours and 34 minutes –  27 minutes longer than the U.S. average, according to a 2010 report by health care consulting firm Press Ganey.

Dearman said patient satisfaction was the main reason UCSF Medical Center adopted InQuickER. “It also helps us control the flow,” she said. “The general population doesn’t think the emergency room ever has slow times. But it does.”

UCSF is one of 55 health care facilities in 13 states partnering with InQuickER, said spokesman Chris Song. The service, based in Nashville, began in 2006 after its founder, Tyler Kiley, had to go to an emergency room and spent hours witnessing stasis and frustration.

“He just thought there had to be a better way,” Song said. “With our service, you still have to wait but you get to do it somewhere else. Like on your couch instead of being surrounded by other sick people.”

Song said InQuickerER provides patients with convenience, comfort and some level of control. And it allows emergency department staff to know who’s coming and what symptoms they have, so that they can better prepare.

“It can help reduce the burden of peak times and spread it out,” Song said. “It creates more efficiency and a better environment in the waiting room.”

So far, more than 10,000 people have used the service; 95 percent have been seen within the 15-minute window. In a triage situation, of course, even people who have registered will have to wait. When there are delays, users are notified through text messages and emails with updated projections on treatment times.

The service is available online at https://ucsfmedicalcenter.inquicker.com/. It is growing rapidly, Song said, which is not surprising: A study led by San Francisco General Hospital emergency physician Renee Hsia, MD, MSc, found that the number of hospital-based emergency departments in the United States is declining, despite an increase in the number of patients seeking emergency care.

The study by Hsia, an assistant professor in the Department of Emergency Medicine in the UCSF School of Medicine, was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association in May. It reported that 27 percent of urban and suburban emergency rooms have closed in the last two decades.”

Hurray!

Taxi and MUNI Driver Organizing Meeting Coming August 1st, One Day Before the Great Transit Strike of 2011

Friday, July 8th, 2011

I’ve told you before, taxi drivers, and I’ll say it again.

If you want to get healthcare and if you want local govt. to take you seriously, become a MUNI driver.

Anyway, the latest deets are below.

One of the group of San Francisco taxi drivers who isn’t afraid of a little protest, obviously. She has three kids and she’s from Brazil – maybe she’ll be at the big meeting:

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Do I think it’s remotely possible that the bulk of a shift of taxi drivers will go on strike? No.

Do I think it’s probable that MUNI drivers will go on strike on August 2? Also no.

Anyway, the latest:

SF Transit Operator/Taxi Drivers Organizing Meeting August 1st

An open meeting is scheduled for Monday, August 1st, 2011 from 6pm to 9pm, between San Francisco taxi drivers and MUNI bus workers. (Everyone is welcome)

These meetings are to strengthen relations between the taxi workers and bus workers, and to envision a more united and organized public transit worker front. Taxi drivers of late have been protesting 5% credit card fees, rear seat payment terminals, and electronic waybill tracking.

Some MUNI and TAXI workers have voiced OSHA health and safety complaints. They are also protesting Proposition G, which is said to prevent workers from negotiating on their work conditions.

The MTA has recently approved a $233 million contract towards its controversial $1.6 billion project to begin tunneling under Chinatown. Meanwhile, taxi workers and MUNI workers are seeking to combine their efforts to not be forgotten and fight for their rights and demand to have what’s theirs.

WHEN: Monday, August 1st, 2011 from 6pm to 9pm.
WHERE: 201 Turk St. between Jones and Leavenworth.”

Impressions, Strybing: There’s a Riot of Color Going On in Golden Gate Park These Days, For Those Who Break the Boycott

Wednesday, July 6th, 2011

This is what you can see inside Strybing Arboretum this time of year:

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And outside, what you’ll see are a bunch of tourists debating the merits of paying $28 or whatever to enter the gates. Usually, they walk off dejectedly.

Oh well.

ZOMG, the Ziptrek Zipline is Coming Back to San Francisco for the Summer of 2011! Just $29 a Ride

Sunday, June 26th, 2011

Here’s the news from AkitIt’s ba-aaaack! Its the ZipTrek EcoTours zipline* (or ziplines, as they will have two, side-by-side). Deets are below.

Now, last year, back in 2010, the rides were free, so people were lining up at 3:00 AM. But this year, the cost will be $29, so that will certainly cut down on the riff-raff, and therefore surely shorten the queue.

(And oh, our friends from up in the Great White North just told me that they will be highly disappointed if Edwin Lee, San Francisco’s once (and future?) Mayor chickens out, if he blows off his obligation. Other Mayors have done it and it all worked out fine. See below for one example…)

This could be you:

Hangtime by Justin.Beck

The deets:

All guests are required to sign an Assumption of Risks and Release of Liability Agreement (coming soon) before zipping. Under 19 requires signature by a parent or guardian.

The ziplines are gravity fed, so guests do not have to worry about controlling their own speed. Guides are stationed at each tower to connect (launch platform) and disconnect (landing platform) each and every guest. Age restrictions apply and guests must weigh more than 65 pounds and no more than a maximum of 275 pounds.

When:
Summer 2011
11:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m. *

Where:
Justin Herman Plaza at Embarcadero Square, San Francisco, California

* times may vary on certain days”

Will you have the guts to climb a temporary tower (80 feet tall!) just like this one from 2010 to earn the right to tell your friends you rode the Justin Herman Plaza Zip Line?

Just asking.

via Josegee – click to expand

Clicque to expand

But first, you’ll need to wait in line next to the abysmal Vaillancourt Fountain, sign a waiver, and get harnessed up.

Le mise-en-scene.

You’ll ascend the 80 foot tower and encounter a friendly Canadian guide at the top. If you need a pep talk, you’ll get one:

You’ll soon be steadying your nerves by glancing at your jump buddy…

…and then you’ll be off, into the wild bleu.

Sisters doing it for themselves:

Can you see the nervous giggles? There’s your team bonding right there.

And this is what it felt like last year. Everything zooms by with a quickness, and there’s a loud buzzing above your noggin. Some people go upside-down even.

And they’ll totally let you bring a camera to make your own YouTube:

You owe it to yourself to try.

Don’t dissappoint lovely Ashleigh. She brought her Olympic Gold all the way down here last year just so you’d consider Vancouver as the starting point for your next vacation:

via Amy Widdowson

And I’ll tell you, last year the kids from Project Insight were quite amused to see former San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown take a run on the fantastic British Columbia Zip-Line near the Ferry Building.

Here’s an account from John Coté.

Willie, sporting cashmere, handed out souvenir mittens (I still have a pair sitting in the back seat of Mom’s Taxi) from Up North:

Then it was time to harness up:

A reluctant exchange of headgear:

It’s go time.

 

Then he was off:

 

Here’s a close-up of those cardinal socks:

The landing tower. Here’s the reverse angle from David Paul Morris

And then a press conference:

His reaction after flying through the sky?

“I was scared as Hell, but there was no way I was going to show it!”

Good for you, Mr. Brown. Will you ride again in 2011?

Anyway, if he can do it, you can too.

See you there this summer!

And get the latest info direct from la source here:

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*Aka flying fox, foefie slide, zip wire, aerial runway, aerial ropeslide, death slide or tyrolean crossing

Take a Look at Strybing Arboretum (aka San Francisco Botanical Garden) After the Admissions Boycott

Thursday, June 16th, 2011

Why does our Strybing Arboretum (aka San Francisco Botanical Garden) need to become “world-class?”

Nobody’s ever explained that one to me. But that’s the rationale for charging admission these days (after six decades of free admission.)

Now, why isn’t our Strybing Arboretum called Strybing Arboretum anymore?

So it can become “world-class.” (Apparently, naming an arboretum after the woman who gave the money to start things up is considered provincial Back East. Plus Founder Helene Strybing made the mistake of becoming old and dying so nobody gives a ROMEO ALPHA about her anymore.)

Anyway, they started charging admission so the place turned into a ghost town, a “museum of plants and trees.”

Click to expand

Oh well.

They said if things didn’t work out, they’d stop charging admission.

They said.