Posts Tagged ‘taxis’

The SFMTA’s New MUNI Blog Urges You to Raise Your Rent by Voting YES on the Half Billion Dollar Prop A, More or Less

Tuesday, September 9th, 2014

Why did the people at the SFMTA just happen to start up a PR blog three months before an election that it really, really care$ about, you know, so it can continue to pay its employees their six-figure salaries? Mmmm…

Their latest effort:

“Going Green – SF’s Taxis Can Help You Go Green by Gary Fiset, September 8, 2014”

Isn’t this a headline at least a touch patronizing? I think so. “Oh MUNI, help me go green! Empower us!”

Our occasional “Going Green” feature will focus on the sustainability efforts at the SFMTA. We’ll share fun facts and figures about one of the most sustainable transportation systems, including Muni and the city’s taxi fleet, in the U.S.

Boy, that prose gags, doesn’t it? I think what dude is saying is, “Vote YES on Prop A. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE!”

SF taxis come in all shapes, sizes and colors, but the vast majority of the fleet is definitely green.

Again, that prose gags, doesn’t it? But I think what dude is really saying is, “Vote YES on Prop A. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE!”

In the 90s taxis were mostly lumbering Crown Victoria sedans that got 10 miles per gallon. Today’s hybrid taxis get better than 40 miles per gallon, reducing the GHG emissions by 75 percent.

Well, let me call bullshit on that one, Gentle Reader. I’m showing a City MPG of 19 Miles Per Gallon for the oldest of the Crown Vics that the SFMTA is talking about. In fact, those lumbering Crown Vics weighed less than lithe, smallish, current-day BMWs, like an athletic 2.0 litre 5 Series, for example. So, if you throw in an airport run or two during an average shift, then you’re well over 20 MPG. Oh, what’s that, in real life, with the hills and all the passengers and luggage, 1990’s era CVs got less than 20 MPG? All right, well, then that means that, IRL, today’s hybrid taxis aren’t averaging “better than 40 MPG” in San Francisco taxi service, right? I mean I see the point you’re making, SFMTA, but you’re lying about mpg and you know it.

Converting SF’s taxi fleet to hybrid and CNG has resulted in removing more than 60 thousand tons of GHG emission savings, the equivalent of taking 6,890 passenger cars off the road every year.

Again, that prose gags, doesn’t it? And please note how the SFMTA spins the putting of GHG’s into the atmosphere as “removing” GHG’s – those are kind of opposite things, right?

So it’s looking like the SFMTA, San Francisco’s worst public agency and the operator of America’s slowest big-city public transit system, is giving itself an A+ on how it has managed taxis in SF.

I cry foul.

And, oh yes, I’ve learned a bit more about the rent increase, the”passthrough” you’ll be voting for yourself this November if you vote YES, as the SFMTA really wants you to do, on that huge Prop A bond. It’ll be turbo simple for your landlord to raise your rent to pay for Prop A. Other landlords will laugh at your landlord for NOT increasing your rent. So, even if you’ve never had to deal with rent passthroughs before, you’ll get one from Prop A.

So what you say, what’s a few bucks a month in increased rent over the next seven years to pay for a better MUNI? Well fine, Gentle Reader, as long as you know it won’t be just a “few” bucks, then vote AYE, and so long as you know what you’re getting us into. But IMO, the road to a better MUNI starts with a NO vote on Prop A.

And a YES vote tells the SFMTA to carry on, business as usual, you all are doing a great job, gee thanks for all the “EXCELLENT TRANSPORTATION CHOICES” [that’s an actual SFMTA corporate catchphrase, I’m srsly.], here, have some more money, build us another Subway to Nowhere why not…

Learning From Japan, 2013: Taxis Everywhere, As Far As The Eye Can See – Much Different Than San Francisco!

Tuesday, April 9th, 2013

Whoa, baby!

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And they have illegal taxis too, just as San Francisco! ‘Cept instead of calling them Lyft or whathaveyou, the Japanese refer to illegal cabs as shiroi takushi (white taxis) owing to the concomitant non-commercial white license plates.

Anyway, they’re all over the place out on the streets, not just bottled up at the airport, that’s my point.

Oh, and if the local police in Japan found out that you were still operating AFTER receiving a cease and desist notice, well, they just might impound your ride (AND your whimsical novelty pink mustache) and then lock you up for 20-something days, you know, to teach you a lesson. Oh, you want to call your family to tell them where you are, or your boss to explain your absence, or a lawyer to get sprung? Well fine, just sign this complete confession first. I’m srsly. Whatever you do, don’t “disrupt” in Japan, Lyfters.

Anyway, legal taxis are all over the place in Japan, that’s my point.

Come to San Francisco, Buy a Used Town Car, and Then Start Picking Up Passengers Like a Cabbie – Here’s How to Do It

Friday, June 1st, 2012

So let’s see here:

1. We regulate taxi rates so drivers won’t exploit tourists and other disadvantaged souls. (Oh, you’re a rich tourist and you’re lost and your flight leaves in an hour? $200 to SFO, take it or leave it – that kind of thing.)  

2. But we limit the number of cabs on the streets to help out the drivers. 

3. So much so, that buying a used Lincoln Town car and illegally picking people up off of the streets after quoting exorbitant rates is a good way to score some quick cash.

4. And, the SFPD has other fish to fry and the SFMTA isn’t really focused on this issue, so we’re back to square one, with unregulated “taxi” drivers exploiting tourists and other disadvantaged souls. Oh well.

As here. These bidnessmen were trying to flag down some Yellow Cabs, but those were all full, so next come the Black Town Cars. The first one quotes a price through the door, as seen here:

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No dice. (What did the illegal cabbie ask for – $50 to go to Union Square? Something like that.)

And then another one pulls up and then another one, which ends up picking up these dudes and whisking them away. All the while, the bidnessmen were trying to flag down a real taxi.

Here’s the aftermath, on Sacramento:

Note the City of Oakland taxi cruising up the street empty – that’s agin the rules too, as Oakland taxis aren’t allowed to pick up people in the 415.

Now you might not see this too much on a Tuesday night, but on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays, it’s Katie Bar The Door out there.

This is the situation.

However, the single-party state of San Francisco is incapable of addressing this particular situation.

Oh well.

Well That’s an Odd-Looking San Francisco Taxi Cab: From Turkey (or Romania!) With Love, It’s Your “Transit Connect”

Friday, May 25th, 2012

Well I guess this weird taxicab is a Ford, sort of.

Anyway, it has lots of windows so you won’t feel too much like cargo on your way to SFO in the back of a cargo van:

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Learn all about the vagaries of international bidness, including the world-famous, anti-consumer 1963 Chicken Tax and how it affects us today, right here.

If the SFMTA were Serious About Cyclist Safety, It Would Ban Buses, Streetcars, Trucks, Taxis and Limos from Market, Instead of Cars

Wednesday, March 7th, 2012

Just saying.

Oh, the SFMTA wants to ban cars from Market Street for other reasons? O.K.

Oh, there’s a balance of interests here? O.K.

But if you cared about cyclist safety more than anything else, you’d ban buses, streetcars, trucks, taxis, and limos from Market before you’d ban cars.

Montgomery and Market:

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That might not fit with your worldview, but it fits with reality.

Corvette Bummer: The SFPD is _Really_ Stepping Up Enforcement of the “Mandatory Turn at Sixth and Market” Rule

Tuesday, November 1st, 2011

Sometimes, you’ll see three cars pulled over at the same time. It’s safe to say, “The Grace Period is Now Over.”

Now, what kind of person ignores the giant signs on inbound Market telling them to Turn Right Only?

The kind of person who has a greater tendency to lack a driver license or insurance or registration or registration hardcopy or registration decal. Oh well.

So, that’s life on the Streets of San Francisco these days.

This tike was not happy, that’s for sure:

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What people tend to say to the SFPD is something like:

Well, how am I supposed to get to the Nordstrom?

The answer, involving the mention of Mission Street or Folsom, well that strikes our visitors as craaaaaazy.

So they conclude, if they hadn’t already, that it’s a hassle to drive about SoMA and Union Square and the FiDi.

Which it is.

And some of them vow to never come back.

Oh well.

Jersey Shore West Coast: Frigid Tourists Not Prepared for Summer Cold, Swirling Fog, and Infrequent Taxis

Thursday, August 11th, 2011

This gaggle of visitors just couldn’t understand where the freak are the freaking taxicabs in this freaking town!

As seen at the intersection of “incomplete streets” Mission and 3rd:

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For that reason, there were agitated.

Taxi Trilogy: New York City Pulls Ahead of San Francisco Again! Like, Where’s OUR Taxi of Tomorrow?

Thursday, May 19th, 2011

Oh well. I guess we’ll have to make do with taxis of today, or, indeed, taxis of yesterday.

Oh well.

Yep, it’s pretty much a Nissan minivan, but it’s been made all special as a taxi. See?

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Thanks, NYC, for showing us the way to The Future…

Oh, and there are some more taxi cab service meetings skedded for the 415, or something:

SFMTA Announces Second Round of Taxi Town Hall Meetings
Agency to discuss electronic waybills at meetings in early June

San Francisco—The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA), which oversees all surface transportation in the City, including the Municipal Railway (Muni) and the regulation of taxis, today announced that it will host a series of town hall meetings on two topics:

1. Using electronic waybills for San Francisco taxis: whether the SFMTA should require electronic reporting based on GPS data instead of the paper trip records currently used by taxi drivers.

2. Peak time taxi permits: whether a new type of permit should be issued for part-time operation of vehicles to increase service during “peak” periods of high demand.

All industry professionals as well as taxi customers are encouraged to attend.

Wednesday, June 1
First meeting: 1 to 4 p.m.
Second meeting: 6 to 9 p.m.

Monday, June 6
First meeting: 1 to 4 p.m.
Second meeting: 6 to 9 p.m.

Wednesday, June 8
First meeting: 1 to 4 p.m.
Second meeting: 6 to 9 p.m.

The first four sessions on June 1 and June 6 will address the use of electronic waybills in San Francisco taxis and peak time taxis; the final two sessions on June 8 will review and summarize input from the previous meetings. Staff will then present a recommendation based on this input to the SFMTA Board of Directors at a future Board meeting.

more – more – more

All meetings will be held at the following location:

1 South Van Ness Avenue
2nd Floor, Atrium

Nearby Muni Routes: 6, 9, 14, 47, 49, 71, F Market, Metro—Van Ness Station

In addition to the town hall meetings, those interested may attend the Taxi
Advisory Council (TAC) meeting at 1 p.m. held on the second and third Monday
of each month at the same location.

The SFMTA will be conducting regular taxi town hall meetings at least once a
month to seek input from all interested parties on ways to improve the taxi
industry. The topics to be discussed at these meetings will be posted in advance
at the SFMTA Web site.

The SFMTA encourages all San Francisco residents and visitors to always hire a San Francisco taxi. Legitimate local taxis are easy to spot by the label “San Francisco Taxicab” on the side and rear of each vehicle as well as by the prominent display of the taxi medallion and the driver’s identification. By choosing a San Francisco taxi, customers are assured that they will have a safe ride in a vehicle that has received regular inspections and is properly insured. Customers have the added benefit of knowing that they are supporting their local taxi drivers.

All customer complaints should be reported to 311. For more information about San Francisco taxis, please visit

Established by voter proposition in 1999, the SFMTA, a department of the City and County of San Francisco, oversees the Municipal Railway (Muni), parking and traffic and taxis. With five modes of transit, Muni has approximately 700,000 passenger boardings each day. Over 35,000 extra vehicles enter San Francisco on any given business day, and rely on the SFMTA to keep the flow of cars, transit vehicles, taxis, delivery trucks, pedestrians and bicycles moving smoothly through the streets.

San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency
One South Van Ness Avenue, Seventh Fl. San Francisco, CA 94103 | Tel: 415.701.4500 | Fax: 415.701.4430 |

Nat Ford Can’t Run MUNI But He CAN Promote Electric Cars – “Zero-Emissions” Neighborhood Taxis Coming Soon?

Wednesday, October 27th, 2010

First I’ve heard of this:

“The SFMTA continually seeks to expand sustainable transportation options for those who live, work or visit San Francisco,” said Nathaniel P. Ford Sr., SFMTA Executive Director/CEO.  “We are especially pleased that adding electric vehicles to the City’s green taxi fleet will increase neighborhood service by creating zero-emissions neighborhood taxis.”

So, should Nat Ford’s goal be to:

1. Fix MUNI; or

2. Expand sustainable transportation options?

No, you can’t say “both.” I vote for Fix MUNI. Anyway.

And I don’t know, there’s good reason why taxi drivers avoid The OutSet – not sure if electrification will help with that. What is the SFMTA going to do, force drivers to come back to the Outside Lands, the Great Sand Wastes, after every drop off? I’m sure WoTP people would like that but there’s no money in it for the drivers…

The Chevy Volt plug-in hybrid on Market Street, back before all of GM’s lies about it came to light:


Joint Efforts & Funding by City Governments, Businesses, and Agencies Will Make Bay Area a National Demonstration Project for Promise of Electric Vehicles

San Francisco, CA— Mayor Gavin Newsom today announced major steps toward making the San Francisco Bay Area a national demonstration project of the promise and potential of electric vehicles, with the award of $14 million in grants to support four innovative electric vehicle (EV) projects across the nine county region. The funds, awarded today by the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC), will leverage additional funds exceeding $30 million to put EVs in government fleets, taxis, and car-share programs, as well as develop a network of charging stations available to the public throughout the region.

“Two years ago, San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed, Oakland Mayor Ron Dellums and I announced our intention to make the Bay Area the epicenter of EV technology and boost our green economy,” said Mayor Newsom. “City governments, auto manufacturers and regional agencies have stepped up to the plate, and together we are making good on that commitment.”

In addition to supporting the build-out of public EV charging infrastructure throughout the Bay Area, the projects funded by this grant money will include purchasing approximately 90 plug-in vehicles and installing charging equipment to support them in municipal fleets, a car sharing electrification program and a pilot project for EV taxi cabs.  This innovative taxi program will launch a fleet of taxis with rechargeable batteries for local neighborhood trips in San Francisco, and will also create the nation’s first battery-switch demonstration for a fleet of cabs built with switchable battery packs and served by battery-switch stations in San Francisco and San Jose.

“The SFMTA continually seeks to expand sustainable transportation options for those who live, work or visit San Francisco,” said Nathaniel P. Ford Sr., SFMTA Executive Director/CEO.  “We are especially pleased that adding electric vehicles to the City’s green taxi fleet will increase neighborhood service by creating zero-emissions neighborhood taxis.”

The projects will go a long way toward ushering in a vibrant EV market in the region by expanding the number of Bay Area residents who experience driving or riding in plug-in vehicles, and by providing charging infrastructure that will encourage people to give up their gasoline cars.

“Zero-emissions EV technology will prove essential to meeting San Francisco’s greenhouse gas reduction goals when 51 percent of all greenhouse gas emissions come from transportation,” said Melanie Nutter, San Francisco Environment Director.  “EV technology also holds extraordinary promise for creating new jobs, reducing our reliance on foreign oil, and putting more money into consumers’ pocketbooks.”  EVs cost approximately 3 cents per mile to operate, while a vehicle powered by a conventional internal combustion engine costs 13 cents per mile (based on gas at $3 per gallon).

To further leverage the efforts, the Bay Area Air Quality Management District has recently set aside an additional $5 million to help install EV chargers in homes and in public locations over the next two years.”

Car-Free Market Street Now Enforced, Effectively, By Empty Police Cars

Tuesday, March 30th, 2010

This was the scene yesterday morning between Sixth and Seventh  – notice the lack of private vehicles?

There are two reasons, it appears, why people coming inbound on Market would obey the new-ish Right Turn Only signs at the intersections of Tenth and also Sixth streets now that the Parking Control Officers are gone.

The first has to do with the police cars parked on Market on Sixth. See the SFPD po-po car on the far right? And there’s another one parked just past Sixth, right in the field of view of drivers when they are deciding whether to risk getting a moving violation.   

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So that’s 6th, now here’s 10th, where recent changes have made the prospect of driving on Market straight past 10th, something drivers have done for more than a century, untenable. There are about two dozen arrows staring you in the face and a huge orange and green “RIGHT TURN ONLY” flashing away. Plus there’s a Safe Hit post in the middle of the lane – that won’t bother fire truck drivers a whit but, private vehicle drivers, well, they’re not going to clunk-clunk over that post on a regular basis. 

That post plays a big role in getting cars to turn at Tenth but you can’t have the same setup at Sixth, which is a two-way street. I guess that’s where the police cars come in.

Now, I’ll tell you, a few days back I watched most of the inbound cars  on Market (like 70-something percent during seven light cycles) go straight. However, there were no police cars parked in the area at that time. Maybe that’s the difference.

Let’s wait and see how drivers behave in a month or so…