Transportation headlines, Wednesday, June 17

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Gold Line trains in Little Tokyo. Photo by Anna Chen / Metro.

Gold Line trains in Little Tokyo. Photo by Anna Chen / Metro.

“NoHo to BoHo” bus route takes off (Burbank Leader)

BurbankBus began all-day service from the North Hollywood Orange and Red Line Station to Burbank Bob Hope Airport on Monday. Prior to the change, buses had been running the route during morning and afternoon weekday rush hour periods.

Now buses will run the route from 5:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. on weekdays with buses arriving every 15 minutes during morning and evening rush hours, 20 minutes during midday and every 45 minutes after 7 p.m. A one-way ride on BurbankBus costs $1, though transfers are free if you have an EZ Pass. The extended service is funded by Metro through Measure R funds.

The new NoHo-Airport bus route replaces the on-demand SuperShuttle service on weekdays. SuperShuttle will still be available for free to Metro riders  on weekends and holidays.

L.A. Streetcar project moves to next phase (Urbanize)

The Los Angeles City Council voted yesterday to allow the 3.8-mile downtown streetcar project to move ahead to preliminary engineering. The project raised some eyebrows last year when the original cost estimate for the project more than doubled to $285 million. The project is not yet fully funded.

The City Council approval of the next phase of the project did not come without some reservations, not only regarding funding, but also about the potentially slow speeds of the streetcar when completed. For the former, there is some talk about utilizing public-private partnerships to help with the costs, and the latter will likely be ironed out as preliminary engineering progresses.

California says Uber driver is employee, not contractor (N.Y. Times)

Uber drivers in California will be considered employees, not contractors (Gizmodo) 

Word got out today that the California labor commission ruled back on June 3 that Uber drivers are employees, not contractors. The ruling means that in California the ridesharing company will not be considered merely an intermediary tech company that links drivers and riders together through its app. Instead, it will be treated as a transportation company, a designation that Uber has fought to avoid.

It appears Uber’s heavy involvement throughout the transactional process is what distinguishes it more as a transportation company than tech. Excerpt:

Even though Uber tries to paint itself as a matchmaking platform for riders and drivers, it sets strict controls on how drivers conduct their business. Uber sets fare rates and prohibits drivers from collecting tips, and it has rules about what kind of cars they can drive. It’ll also boot drivers who receive low ratings on the app. As the ruling pointed out, that heavy level of control fits the profile of an employer.

The ruling is generally a good one for drivers, though it may reduce the viability of driving for the company as a side-gig like some drivers do currently. For Uber, paying for employee benefits and taxes for social security and medicare will undoubtedly affect the bottom line. Shocking no one: Uber yesterday filed an appeal to the ruling.

Car-free future for central Dublin (CityLab)

The 10th most congested city in the world has taken a drastic step that will likely result in the city ending up near the top of a much more desirable list in the years to come. The city council of Ireland’s capital passed a resolution to make the city center car-free by 2017. One of the measurable goals of the resolution is to decrease the number of car commuters from 33 percent to 20 percent.

The plan to convert the city center from a smog-choked proverbial parking lot to a pedestrian paradise includes converting auto lanes to pedestrian plazas and transit-only thoroughfares. The effort coincides with a $416-million expansion of the city’s light rail network and the city also plans to increase the frequency of its existing bus and rail network and to expand its bicycling network.

I eat a lot of pie (Zocalo Public Square)

Metro rider Marigold Benzon

Metro rider Marigold Benzon. Photo by Zocalo Public Square

The latest installment of Zocalo Public Square’s rider profile series.

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[youtube //www.youtube.com/watch?v=FisaHV2hQYc]

Not only do the notorious hills in San Francisco make for a good walking workout, they can be used for some interesting illusions as seen in this entertaining video.

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1 reply

  1. More misleading of the public by the liberal media. Note the update on the Uber article:

    “Reuters’ original headline was not accurate. The California Labor Commission’s ruling is non-binding and applies to a single driver,” a spokesperson said.”