This is the headline running on Wired after the recent announcement that Lyft acquired Motivate, and the Gobikes. According to the article, Lyft would not discuss the terms of Motivate's exclusive contract with the SFMTA, but they have talk to San Francisco City authorities and voters if we demand they do.
The contract was brought to our attention a few months ago at a SFMTA Board of Directors hearing on alterations on Bayshore. The contract was reviewed by a number of people at that time and alarms were set off but few people paid attention, although the media has done a decent job of covering these issues. This program will turn into the Airbnb disaster on the streets and it should be stopped now, before any more damage is done.
Has SFMTA sold us out to Lyft, Uber, Ford and GM and their plans to control our streets? We know they will replace human jobs with robots. How does this fit into MTC's expansion plans for more public transit and the environmental argument for dense cities along transit corridors in the Bay Area that SPUR is pushing? How SMART is it to sell our streets to private corporate giants that plan to robotize our streets killing thousands of human jobs ? Isn't this what everyone complained about the last time GM bought the rails and dismantled them? How much support are the on-demand entities getting from our public transit agencies in their efforts to take over our streets again?
The public needs to decide how we want to use our streets while they are still ours! Now is the time to put a stop to the removal of public parking while we figure out how well the SFMTA programs are serving us and our needs.
We insist on an investigation into the relationships between our public transportation department and these private entities. Contracts between private and public enterprises look suspicious when we see that the public is paying to supplement these private enterprises that claim they are taking over our streets as described here: Chariot adds commute routes for UCSF employees, with public funding.
Who made this deal to use public funds to supplement the Chariot rides for UCSF employees living in the East Bay? Where are the public funds coming from? Does Chariot get Bay Bridge toll exceptions too while the rest of us pay more to cross? Who gets exceptions to those tolls?
We have been complaining about the separation of powers within the SFMTA and now we see there is a problem of separation of powers and interests between our public and private transportation entities.
If you live in a city that is being inundated by corporate entities, act now, demand an explanation and a voice in the decisions regarding your public streets, or you will lose the privilege to control them.