Monday saw an agreement between the SFMTA and the privately contracted shuttle buses that ferry tech workers up and down the Peninsula. But while the agreement marks the first government regulation of the buses, which have been using city bus stops at their leisure for years, it won't bring in any new money for the city.
California's Proposition 218, which reduces revenue-raising tools to pay for general governmental costs, limits the SFMTA's ability to collect any money in the new deal. The $1.5 million that Muni Director of Transportation Ed Reiskin projects will roll in over the 18-month trial period will help cover costs associated with enforcing new rules. What kinds of rules? Stipulations that shuttles must give right of way to Muni buses, skirt steep hills, and make room for other vehicles.
Unique placards affixed to shuttle buses will also allow for better enforcement (kind of like taxi identification numbers), with an existing fine of $270 becoming easier to apply. The information on how many buses hit which bus stops will be self-reported from each vehicle's logo logs and GPS data. The proposal would allow the shuttles to use a select 200 of the more than 2,500 Muni stops in the city, and will charge roughly $1 per stop per day, but buses won't be allowed to use any non-approved stops.
The pilot program has been in the planning stages since 2011, when the SFMTA first began tracking commuter bus activity. In 2012, the agency found that an estimated 14,000 riders utilized about 350 individual shuttles per day, concluding that the service constituted an important midsize transit agency in its own right.
The proposal will go before the SFMTA's board of directors on January 21 for review.
Previously: S.F. To Start Charging Tech Company Shuttles