N.Y. bike program beset by challenges; will SF be the same? 

click to enlarge A man returns a Citi Bike to a docking station in Union square on May 29, 2013 in New York City. - SPENCER PLATT/GETTY IMAGES
  • Spencer Platt/Getty Images
  • A man returns a Citi Bike to a docking station in Union square on May 29, 2013 in New York City.

"Will SF's bike-share program avoid the pitfalls of New York's?" The City, Sunday

N.Y. bike program beset by challenges

Not mentioned in this bike-positive story are recent stories from The New York Times about problems with New York's bike-share program.

Huge trucks are needed to transport bikes from one station to another in New York. Riders bicycle to one station, such as Wall Street or Greenwich Village, but an equal number do not bike them back.

Bike-share employees must physically load every heavy bike onto a truck and then drive the bikes to another station and unload them for new customers who then ride them to another location but may not ride them back. In the original planning that went into the bike-share program in NYC, it was apparently envisioned that somehow bike-share bicycles would magically appear at all stations to meet demand.

Also, your article did not include a report from The New York Times on the problem of bike-share riding while drunk. According to their story, ("Riding Away from a Bar Crawl with Citi-Bikes" - Aug. 22,2013) many bar crawlers use a share bicycle to leave their immediate neighborhood, ride across New York's many bridges, bar-crawl around and then ride back home drunk. The drunk cyclists report that share-bike riding is cheaper than a cab and more pleasant than a subway or bus. New York's bike-share user agreement prohibits riding "under the influence of any alcohol, drugs, medications or other substance."

Will San Francisco need to install alcohol breath-tests on its bike-share bikes to avoid New York's problems?

Fiona McGregor,

San Francisco

"City's taxi regulations should be less discriminatory, not more so," Editorial, Opinion, Aug. 22

Rideshare system unfair

Let's make the playing field level for Lyft, Sidecar and UberX if they want to operate against the established taxi companies within The City. Let's just have them pay the same fees and follow the same legal rules.

The DMV clearly asks you on your application for registration if this vehicle will be used for hire. A "donation" is what you give at church. If you don't "donate" you can still come. On the other hand, if you don't "donate" to the rideshares you cannot use them again.

The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency has fees. Driver application, $155; fingerprint check, $25; DMV check, taxi driver school, $125; Driver A card, $101. Then the cars should have a medallion, $250,000; medallion application, $1,886; and medallion renewal, $1,415.

All cars should have large identifying numbers in case of trouble. The passengers should have guaranteed liability insurance from the company and not have to rely on the car owner's underlying policy in the case of a "dispatch app." The drivers should be protected by worker's compensation insurance from the company just like the taxi companies must provide to their drivers.

If the new online-enabled transportation services want to operate like cabs, let them pay the same fees.

David Kiely,

San Francisco

Middle East violence

Stop blaming Israel

Over the years we have heard from world leaders, media pundits and others telling us that the key to peace in the Middle East is dependent on Israel agreeing to dismantle its settlements and the creation of a Palestinian state.

Today, Egypt is in chaos with hundreds killed by the new military government and Christians fleeing the onslaught of the Muslim Brotherhood. Over 100,000 people have been killed in the Syrian civil war and Iraq is still as violent and unsettled as the day the U.S. invaded. Lebanon is at the brink of civil war as well and the Jordanian monarchy hangs by a thread. None of this has to do with Israel.

Gil Stein,


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