Free Market Transportation

The only way to go, as this article in the San Francisco Chronicle reports; and setting market rates for all public transportation would encourage that run by government to do more to make its transport safe, clean and reliable.

An excerpt from the Chronicle article.

The compact city that inspired ride-hailing companies Uber and Lyft is offering a new way to get to work: fancy $6 big-bus rides with spacious seating, free Wi-Fi and attendants who deliver snacks.

A company called Leap launched the service in March with morning and evening commutes that follow public bus routes between the tony Marina district and the heart of downtown San Francisco. Leap joins a private shuttle service called Chariot, which operates 15-seat passenger vans over multiple routes within the city at a cost of $3 to $5 a ride.

Fans say the app-enabled buses and shuttles complement an aging municipal transit system that is unreliable and overburdened at peak times. Critics say the private rides are just another sign of the growing gap between wealthy tech workers and everyone else in a city where starter homes can easily go for $1 million.

A single-fare bus ticket on the citywide Municipal Railway is $2.25, amenities definitely not included.

San Francisco, with its picture-perfect views and steep hills, has a wealth of public transit options, including buses, light rail, historic trolleys and, of course, its cable cars.

But with a boom in technology jobs and development, thousands of workers — commuters and residents alike — have added to congestion on the often narrow streets. New ways of getting people around the city have created tensions.

Taxi drivers, for example, weren’t happy when Uber and Lyft launched in 2010 and in 2012, allowing passengers to connect with drivers via smartphone. Protesters blocked Silicon Valley commuter buses in 2013 and 2014, complaining that companies such as Google were hogging public bus stops to give their well-paid workers a hassle-free ride to work.

The move into group transit — especially buses that do not carry many riders — worries public bus advocates such as Thea Selby, chairwoman of the San Francisco Transit Riders.

“We are very concerned that people will mentally disinvest in Muni when they take Leap, and that will create a two-tier transportation system,” she said.

On a recent weekday evening, a dozen passengers spread out on a bus with seats for 27. Stops are limited and the ride home takes about 25 minutes rather than 45 minutes on public transit. Rides are $5 each if bought in bulk.

Julia Vitaro, 27, said she was tired of packed city buses passing her by in the morning. She doesn’t make that much money at a startup downtown, she said, but chooses to spend it on Leap.

“I don’t want to start my day off with Muni,” Vitaro said.

Retrieved May 11, 2015 from http://www.sacbee.com/news/business/article20651796.html

About David H Lukenbill

I am a native of Sacramento, as are my wife and daughter. I am a consultant to nonprofit organizations, and have a Bachelor of Science degree in Organizational Behavior and a Master of Public Administration degree, both from the University of San Francisco. We live along the American River with two cats and all the wild critters we can feed. I am the founding president of the American River Parkway Preservation Society and currently serve as the CFO and Senior Policy Director. I also volunteer as the President of The Lampstand Foundation, a nonprofit organization I founded in 2003.
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