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UncategorizedLeap buses are nice -- unless you are in...

Leap buses are nice — unless you are in a wheelchair

The startup service has no room for people with mobility issues. Why do tech companies always get away with everything?

Look at all the young, healthy people with no mobility issues riding the luxury bus
Look at all the young, healthy people with no mobility issues riding the luxury bus

By Tim Redmond

APRIL 7, 2015 – The launch of Leap, the private $6-a-ride bus service, got press attention that would seem far out of proportion to its fairly modest program. Right now, the upscale buses only run on one route, through the Marina to Downtown.

But just as Uber and Lyft have upended the taxi industry, Leap has the potential to take riders away from Muni – particularly if it expands to more neighborhoods and attracts the more upscale people who now take the bus to work.

If that happens, of course, Muni would become a second-class service for those who can’t afford the fancy buses – and when the middle class stops using public transit, public transit stops getting the political support it needs to continue serving the city.

Beyond the generally glorious reviews so far (including a plug from BART Board member Nick Josefowitz), there’s a side of Leap that’s been almost entirely ignored.

The company’s website says that “everybody can ride” – which apparently means you can get a ticket by smartphone or by printing one out at home. But “everyone,” some advocates complain, doesn’t include people with disabilities.

There are no wheelchair ramps on the Leap buses. If you show up at one of the stops in a wheelchair, “you are just out of luck,” Bob Planthold, a longtime disability-rights activist, told me.

Cool place to socialize -- if you have no trouble with stairs and narrow aisles
Cool place to socialize — if you have no trouble with stairs and narrow aisles

Take a look at the nice pictures of the pretty interiors – and then imagine you have mobility issues. Those nice seats in the back? They require climbing a step and negotiating a fairly narrow aisle.

It’s a similar situation to Uber and Lyft, which got permission to act as taxis without having to follow the same rules as taxi companies, which are required to provide service to people in wheelchairs. Airbnb is allowed to operate what amount to hotel rooms without any mandated Americans with Disabilities Act access.

“I don’t understand how you can get away with noncompliance with the ADA,” Planthold told me. “As a business, they are required to comply with all the employment laws and workplace-safety rules.”

The head of Leap says the company is trying. When I asked for comment, Kyle Kirchhoff, the CEO, sent this:

Our vision is for Leap to be accessible to anyone who wants to use our service. We currently operate four buses purchased from public transit agencies. The vehicles as-designed were not set up for wheelchair access, but we have been actively working on ways to bring accessibility to our route. We’re exploring new design solutions and vehicle types to be able to add this to Leap as we expand our fleet.

The interesting thing: Leap’s press kit points out that the buses were completely gutted and redone:

 The entire bus has been redesigned to create a comfortable space for commuters. Three unique seating areas include a social perimeter for chatting with neighbors, spacious front-facing seats for reading a book or catching up on a podcast, and a laptop bar for getting a jump start on work. Each bus features Wi-Fi, USB ports for powering devices, and buy-on-board snack service featuring some of San Francisco’s finest brands.


Tearing out all the seats and designing a new interior isn’t a small task, and a lot of thought must have gone into it. Just no thought about how it would work for people in wheelchairs.

That, Planthold told me, is “a real attitudinal neglect. It shows how nonobservant people are about the world around them. There’s a real lack of understanding about civil rights.”

Also interesting: The ADA passed in 1990, and all municipal buses built in the US after that date needed to be accessible. So either Leap bought older buses, or bought buses from another country, or …. or what?

I realize this is a new company with just a few buses – although if just one had a wheelchair lift, I think it would have gone a long way to address the disability-rights community’s concerns. But Leap isn’t alone – the entire tech startup culture involves services for people just like the ones who work in startups – young, healthy, active, able to get around easily.

And that’s where a lack of government oversight and regulation has created problems. There are reasons that companies offering public services and accommodations (hotels, taxis, airplanes) are required to provide services for disabled people. When my 91-year-old mother got on an airplane in a small upstate New York airport last summer – a place way too tiny for jetways — they took away the stairs after everyone else had boarded and pulled up a special ramp just for her, and an attendant helped push her wheelchair to the plane. Otherwise, she wouldn’t have been able to travel – and it’s not fair for someone who is old and has bad legs to be told she can’t fly.

It’s also the law, and the airlines all know it.

But tech startups don’t seem to worry about these things. Leap launched its service before it had formal approval from the California Public Utilities Commission, the same way Uber started without a license to run cabs and the Google buses started parking in Muni stops without permission.

Not to pick on Leap, but at some point the regulators are going to have to make clear that there are rules for everyone, and having a killer app and some venture capital funding doesn’t protect you.

Tim Redmond
Tim Redmond has been a political and investigative reporter in San Francisco for more than 30 years. He spent much of that time as executive editor of the Bay Guardian. He is the founder of 48hills.
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  1. I ride Leap. It stops in white zones to pick up (like EA, Genentech, GBus etc) on Lombard. Yes, there are many other private buses that operate without wheelchair access – trolleys, Academy of Art, etc etc. Bottom Line – Why doesn’t muni provide a genuine commuter express service (30x is a joke) – heck why not charge more for it like most other countries public transport. The failure here is muni, not Leap or similar.

  2. You see special treatment, they see basic access, the same that you enjoy, albeit with a smug and entitled attitude. I’m guessing you’re still in your twenties, have a baseless sense of superiority and can’t conceive of ever being old or infirm or less able than you are now

  3. That’s one way to look at it. Another way is that it allows people with mobility impairments or other disabilities to park close enough to their destination that they can actually enter it. It’s not a frivolous accommodation that’s not needed. You act like disabled placards are the equivalent of first class plane tickets. The placards are an attempt to provide basic access for disabled people who are usually less well-off than entitled tech dreck.

  4. How would you know one way or the other? How do you know there aren’t people who would love to eat in one of those restaurants like everyone else, if only they could get in?

  5. “Reasonable” is the key word there. It isn’t reasonable for a tiny business to spend an unreasonable amount of money to comply.

    I know several small businesses that are only accessible by stairs, for instance. Doesn’t seem to be a problem.

  6. Using a word like “genocide” is an insult to those who have suffered the real thing, rather than just some inconvenience or expense.

  7. Shannon, I know lots of small businesses that are up a flight of stairs, with no elevator. At least three restaurants in my neighborhood,as well as a hair studio and an eyeglass store. for instance.

    Doesn’t seem to be a problem for anyone.

  8. ADA doesn’t require that we give out stickers that enable one class of people to park wherever they want for free

  9. I don’t know, but what I do know is that their lobby is perfectly happy with them getting special treatment but then complain when another class of people get special treatment.

  10. Shannon, I never said it was good PR. I simply said it would neatly skirt the whole discrimination issue

  11. I was on the SFMTA oversight council during those service cuts and it’s more complicated than just the flat per-rider cost. There is a vast array of grants to fund this or that specific need.

    Besides being the most expensive line, the 56-Rutland is the most heavily subsidized route because it receives grants for (I might be wrong on the specifics) serving a senior center in disadvantaged neighborhood. In the grand scheme of things it made more sense at some point to pay local transit agencies to provide transit service in cases that would otherwise still need some kind of shuttle bus service of it’s own.

    After all the subsidies (and that aspect of the 56 is just one example) the actual costs to Muni is are a lot different than that chart makes it look.

  12. The 30 is Muni’s most-profitable (well, least costly) line, requiring a subsidy of 70 cents per passenger. Compare that to the worst-performing line, the 56 Rutland, which loses a staggering $9.70 per passenger. (As of 2010: http://sfappeal.com/2010/01/exclusive-sf-appeal-analysis-reveals-which-muni-lines-are-at-risk-for-cutbacks-in-2010/ )

    But you’re missing the point. Leap and Chariot are meant to supplement the 30X, not the 30. The 30X is so crowded every morning that 90% of the time passengers east of Fillmore Street get passed up by every single bus. Until Muni substantially ups the frequency (or adds 60-foot articulated buses to the line), Leap and Chariot will continue to profit.

  13. Does Your Business Have to Comply With the ADA?

    By Brett Snider, Esq. on July 9, 2013 7:59 AM

    The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires businesses to make reasonable accommodations for those with recognized disabilities, but only if those businesses fall within the ambit of the law.

    If your business is on the small side or doesn’t cater to the public, it may not need to comply with the ADA.

    How can you tell if your business falls under the ADA? Here are some general guidelines:

    ADA Titles I and III

    Although the ADA prohibits discrimination based on disability and requires reasonable accommodations in both the private and public sectors, Title I and Title III of the ADA are the ones most applicable to small private business owners.

    Title I of the ADA covers areas of private employment, and requires eligible businesses to provide employees with equal opportunity to enjoy privileges of employment. It also prohibits discrimination based on disability.

    Title III of the ADA focuses on private and public entities that are considered “public accommodations,” and requires that businesses not discriminate against customers based on disability, including providing reasonable access.

    Still, for either of these titles, certain businesses may not have to comply with the ADA’s standards.

    Title I Compliance

    The ADA defines “employer” as any person:

    Engaged in an industry affecting commerce,

    Employing 15 or more full-time employees each working day,

    For at least 20 or more calendar weeks in the year.

    This means if your business only has 14 or fewer full-time employees, or is only in business for less than 20 weeks a year, then you do not have to comply with Title I.

    Businesses entirely owned by a federally recognized Native American tribe are also exempt from Title I, as well as any tax-exempt private membership club.

    Title III Compliance

    As far as Title III is concerned, only businesses considered “public accommodations” are required to comply. The federal law offers this non-exhaustive list of public accomodations:

    Inns, hotels, and motels;

    Restaurants and bars;

    Bakeries and grocery stores;

    Hardware stores or any sales/retail outlet;


    Laundromats and dry cleaners;

    Accountants and lawyers’ offices;

    Health care providers’ offices;

    Public transportation;

    Recreation venues;


    Social service centers; and


    Essentially, any business that regularly serves the public is considered a public accommodation, but private clubs or religious organizations are considered exempt.

    Business owners should remember that federal disability law under the ADA is only one part of disability law in any state; there are also corresponding state laws that prohibit discrimination based on disability both in employment and in public accommodations, like California’s Unruh Civil Rights Act.

    Because disability laws can get complicated, it may be best to consult an experienced disability lawyer to make sure your company is in compliance.

    Follow FindLaw for Consumers on Google+.

  14. How many disabled people actually have enough money, or the physical ability, to own and drive a car? You should stop running your mouth and stop pretending that a small sector of the disabled community represents them all.

  15. They don’t want “special treatment,” they want to access all the same services that everyone else can use. That’s what the ADA civil rights legislation is about. Why is that so offensive to you?

  16. Do you even live here? Or are you just part of the “tech dreck?” I miss the pre-Soupetal San Francisco.

  17. Including the ADA? Doubtful. And why would they want to exclude a whole segment of the market?

  18. Where were you when people were angry that the tech shuttles’ use of muni stops prevented muni buses from pulling to the curb? Your lack of concern about accessibility is not something a reasonable person would share.

  19. Greg, I can think of many businesses that are not ADA-compliant. Any business that operates out of a building with stairs, for instance.

    ADA-compliance has to be reasonable.

  20. The disabled lobby want special treatment for them (disabled parking spaces and stickers) but not for others.

    If they really want a level playing field, then let’s give it to them

  21. What about those who enjoy a quieter and less crowded Muni ride because of the competition?

    What about those who have a shorter Muni ride because the Leap riders leave their cars at home?

  22. Just to flesh out my point — Leap should be forced to tack on a $1 fee onto its fares to subsidize better paratransit services. But it should not be forced to make its user base subsidize paratransit services with their time.

  23. I’m shocked nobody has mentioned this fact — this bus is trying to get people out of their cars and Lyfts and Ubers and onto some sort of collective transit. These are NOT former MUNI riders. If the bus has to dawdle at stops to roll out a wheelchair lift, the user base for Leap will jump ship. This is a business decision. Frankly, a disabled-accessible Leap service is not a Leap service that can stay in business.

  24. “The elemental problem with these buses is they serve the profitable lines”

    Wait … what? How much “profit” do you think the 30 line is making, exactly?

  25. from the LEAP faq page:
    “Do you use MUNI stops?
    We do not use any MUNI stops and we actively try to stay out of MUNI’s way.”

    Downtown they stop in white zones, legally.
    In the ‘neighborhoods’ they stop in the traffic lane and driveways, both illegal.

    It’s not hard to find this information.

    ps: they are not a participant in the SFMTA Commuter Shuttles Pilot and Policies Program. They do not have the city’s permission to stop in MUNI red zones.

  26. In fact, innovation and disruption have to be forced on private markets, which are usually not interested in having their cash flow interrupted or their business model challenged. As for ” “more net societal benefits;” don’t see ’em. Consumer goods and services are not a real benefits because they’re unsustainable. Health, education, housing, and pot in every chicken are benefits the private sector seems incapable of innovating. Unless by “innovating” you really mean “privatizing.”

  27. I wonder why “innovation” and “disruption” often come to private markets and rarely to government controlled ones?

    Perhaps there is some sort of invisible appendage at work in the marketplace case, where distributed economic incentives often create more net societal benefit than the supposedly magnanimous, centrally planned actions of the state?

  28. Who said anything about reasonable?

    (Actually I’d expect anyone who routinely has their commute delayed by businesses illegally using their bus stop, or has received a ticket for doing something as an individual which a business does with impunity might care).

  29. If the disabled truly want 100% equality then when are we going to get rid of all those special free disabled parking spaces? And those disabled stickers for private vehicles that are so abused?

  30. Nobody who has tried to deal with the DBI or the Planning Department would EVER claim that public services are superior to a service where there is a free market and competition

  31. If you think it is a “problem” that being wealthier gets you more good stuff, then you must see problems everywhere.

    Disabled people have options that the rest of us do not have. Example – free disabled parking spaces. Special vehicles designed for your use. Special bus services. And so on.

    So why complain when someone else gets something special?

  32. The prices one pays the “private sector” are artificially inflated so that the corporation can make a profit, and the CEO can make a million-dollar salary. Or a $100M salary; who’s counting?

    “Government” exists for one reason only; to provide for the needs of “the people.” Healthcare, education, and access to transportation, food, communications, and housing are all basic human needs that could easily be paid for with our tax dollars. Spending that money on corporate subsidies, bank bailouts, defense contract boondoggles, and perpetual foreign wars is why “government” doesn’t work at the Federal level. At the local level, it’s death by a thousand cuts. Inefficiencies multiply to the point that very little gets done without some actual crisis occurring.

    We need “innovation” and “disruption” to be applied to governance.

  33. And now you are seeing the problem – one level of service for younger, healthier people, and another lesser level (by your own arguments, since Muni is both the only real alternative and much less desirable) for everyone else.

  34. At least a couple of your examples usually operate in most places as private monopolies with government sanction, which is hardly the epitome of private sector efficiency (which itself is often more myth than fact).

    You know why this is? Because sometimes, competition actually *doesn’t* provide better quality and lower prices, usually because of the fixed costs involved. I know, who’d’a thunk that real life isn’t as simple as the Cliff Notes for Econ 101.

  35. Leap says it can stop at Muni stops. Exactly what permit or not that requires is not something that a normal reasonable person would care about.

  36. MUNI doesn’t work because incompetent or uninterested people are making key decisions. Given the topography of the City, the antiquity of the infrastructure (overhead wires? In the 21st century?), and the density of the bureaucracy, it’s a wonder MUNI functions at all. Some routes are horrible and congested, but other routes are stress-free, scenic, and the actual best method of getting from A to B. If I lived in the Sunset and wanted to get downtown, even an overcrowded 72 Haight or N-Judah beats driving and trying to park.

    Yes, I’m asking for those overused buzzwords “innovation” and “disruption” to be applied to “government,” especially local governments that can actually be controlled by the citizenry; an informed, engaged citizenry that is required to vote on just about everything that affects them.

  37. Those Academy of Art and Kaiser Permanente and UCSF busses don’t exist; neither do tourist busses. Only busses people identify with disliked sectors of the economy exist and are uncivilized. I’d greatly prefer if everyone in them was the single occupant of a private car instead.

  38. Well then clearly sir you are not an SF transit wonk, and as such you are to be applauded for having (presumably) healthy, non-Sisyphean interests.

    Fact is one does need a permit just to stop in a muni stop; it’s a fat fine and the process to allow anyone who isn’t muni to use said stops was and still is the subject of heated debate, counterproductive protests, and runaway internet commenting – even on this very site.

  39. Does the Muni stop permit approval process (insofar as that is formalized) require other types of alleged permit to be already in place?

    I’m not convinced that a permit is needed simply to stop and pick up a passenger.

  40. The DMV regulated autos once autos replaced horses.

    The CA PUC is charged with regulating buses.

    You clearly excel at plumbing the depths of idiocy.

  41. Tiny businesses are typically exempt from many laws that are more appropriate for larger companies. A corner convenience store doesn’t need to obey all the same laws as WalMart.

  42. The point is that purely private clubs are allowed to discriminate. They are exempt from discrimination laws.

    They could call themselves the “Straight White Fully-abled Male” commuter club and would be breaking no law.

  43. How does Leap deprive Muni of revenue? Muni doesn’t charge more just because there are high value riders on that route?

    And Muni is so over-crowded that it couldn’t collect extra fares at rush hours anyway

  44. The private sector provides many basic needs, including food, cars, electricity, gas, water (in most places), most transportation and homes.

    The city provides very few basic needs – just public safety and some local transportation

  45. Rubbish. SF has been “transit-first” for more than 40 years. SFMTA can barely manage what they have – and you’re asking now for innovation? How can MUNI reduce auto traffic? They’re not an attractive proposition or alternative.

  46. This is ridiculous. It should be outlawed. Dianne Feinstein effectively shut down the jitney vans on Mission Street in the early 80s and I think the ADA provides a big enough hammer.

    The elemental problem with these buses is they naturally will be designed to serve the profitable lines, thus depriving MUNI of revenue which supports it’s costly less-used lines. No doubt there’s a few riders whove taken a LEAP of faith that their transfers won’t cost $18 in the future.

    That LEAP is not bearing the cost of universal access is damnable.

  47. Not really; successful transit, traffic management, and pedestrian plans exist in other cities around the world; all MUNI has to do is copy them. Woo hoo! Junket! Reducing auto traffic in the City would be the first step. Somebody from Stanford or Cal or City College could figure it out.

  48. I’m not so sure that is the ‘only’ way, and would never pass the political laugh test here. MUNI is poorly and severely mis-managed like the rest of the city agencies, no doubt, but re-inventing it from scratch is like re-inventing the wheel.

  49. Well…..how’s about building a multi-modal system that could copied by or linked to other Bay Area counties. This would require more workers. Most of the current employeses could be re-trained. As for unions, perhaps the only jobs it makes sense to unionize are government ones. We don’t need competition between government and the private sector, which has proven itself incapable of meeting basic human needs. Consumer goods/services, yes. Actual needs, no. Pretty much all other means of production can be done by worker self-directed enterprises.

  50. SF isn’t “toast” – we’ll just bumble along spending upwards of $22 Million each day, until that’s not enough, then tax and spend some more, without anything further to show for it.

    In the meantime, our self-aggrandizing insular politicians will continue their stone-stepping to higher office from the woefully incompetent and self-serving BoS

  51. These buses all had accessibility equipment at one time. The model isn’t old enough not to have. Either Leap or the previous owner removed it. Building owners can’t get away with opening new non-accessible businesses, I don’t see why a bus company should get away with it either. A wheelchair user could always file an ADA lawsuit against them…

  52. What happens if someone with a disability applies for membership? Serious question, I’m not trying to troll.

  53. Do they have a permit to stop at a muni bus stop? It’s a rather steep fine for a citizen in a private vehicle to park at a muni stop without a specific permit to do so.

  54. Of course having a killer app and some VC funding protects you; have you not been paying attention these past few years?

  55. You seem to be under the impression that just about anyone can get a vehicle with X number of seats in it and start driving around picking up riders and dropping them off wherever they please?

    Welcome to civilized society, you seem to have missed the turn for Galt’s Gulch.

  56. …then, perhaps they should have researched and ensured they comply with the laws required of transportation companies BEFORE they started operating?

  57. So if the vehicle pulls over somewhere and picks up, there is no problem. Which is presumably what it does.

    You could make the same point about cabs, delivery vehicles, shuttles or any private vehicle that lets out or picks up people. I do not see the problem here.

  58. If a bus stops in a traffic lane to board or unboard passengers it is in violation of the law.

    DEFINITION (city code)Park. To park or stop a vehicle, as defined in the Vehicle Code, or to cause or permit a vehicle to be parked or stopped, unless the context requires a different meaning.

    Obstructing Traffic – Vehicle — TRC7.2.70 — To Park a vehicle in a manner to obstruct the flow of pedestrian or vehicular traffic.

    Double Parking — V22500H — 22500. No person shall stop, park, or leave standing any vehicle whether attended or unattended, except when necessary to avoid conflict with other traffic or in compliance with the directions of a peace officer or official traffic control device, in any of the following places: (h) On the roadway side of any vehicle stopped, parked, or standing at the curb or edge of a highway, except for a schoolbus when stopped to load or unload pupils in a business or residence district where the speed limit is 25 miles per hour or less.

    This isn’t worth arguing about.

  59. You’re far too kind. This is now undoubtedly the most corrupt city in the United States, wholly owned by demonically greedy vermin and their stooges in City Hall. The “Planning” Department has been owned and operated by construction, real estate, and “financial interests” forever. SF is toast.

  60. Muni is the most expensive municipal transit system in the nation, per capita. So clearly the problem is not that Muni doesn’t have enough money.

    The only way Muni can be fixed would be to dismantle it, fire all the workers, kick out the unions, and start over.

    Or allow competition and make transit a truly multi-modal system.

  61. You are wrong. any registered and insured vehicle is allowed to use SF streets. That is what streets are for. No other special “license” is needed.

    Where they stop is another issue but, again, vehicles can stop wherever it is safe to. That said, I believe Leap are using regular Muni stops, just like the tech shuttles.

    Not sure I am seeing a problem here, unless of course you are looking for one.

  62. Who knows the convoluted ins and outs of state regulatory agencies? Not me. (rhetorical)
    There is no question that LEAP and CHARIOT are making illegal stops when they (un)board passengers on the street, or in a building driveway (basically, anywhere except a white zone). The city should be ticketing them, every time, but they don’t.

    But are they operating illegally without CPUC permits?
    Time to find out.
    I called the agency that handles this: California Highway Patrol, Golden Gate Division (Transportation Division), and registered a complaint that both LEAP and CHARIOT are operating without permits. I was told that permits “must be approved” before operating on our streets (Leap Transit’s permit is ‘pending’). But also that there are circumstances where a bus can operate without a permit. A case was created and will be investigated (it should take about a month–there are other bus companies out there who are responsible for death and injury, and they rightly take precedence). The wheels grind slowly…

    You can register a complaint too, if you like.
    Phone 707-648-4062.
    If the city won’t do anything about these scofflaws, maybe the state will.


    The CHP informed me that only vehicles carrying 11 or more passengers are required to get a CPUC permit (unless they qualify under some other exemption). Chariot(SF), who has not applied for a permit, uses vans that carry 15 passengers, therefore must apply for a permit to operate.

  63. Nothing good is easy; finding good “help” in our present dysfunctional political system is almost impossible since you must be able to raise $30 million dollars to run for the state senate. That automatically excludes the most qualified people; probably some history professor or organic farmer. The actual fix for MUNI is simple, design and construct a 21st century transportation system that serves EVERYONE in the community. The problem is that many individuals in City government are still playing by a 1957 rulebook.

  64. “just” fix Muni? Like that is easy?

    Willie Brown was going to fix it in 100 days, remember?

    Some might say it is unfixable in its present form.

    I am with you on abolishing Planning though

  65. A 21st century transit system should have been designed in the 20th century. The current hodgepodge of vehicles is a logistical nightmare, and doesn’t even come close to providing service for the majority of the residents. How’s about we just fix MUNI/SFMTA, impeach the Mayor, put the City Administrator in the stocks, and disband the “Planning” Department?

  66. They can take a flying leap at a rolling donut for all I care but as a disabled person I find this unacceptable guess I need to buy a ticket and sue.

  67. Per sources from the busfan community, these buses were formerly of the Riverside Transit Agency. They are 2000 NABI Low Floor buses, and were wheelchair accessible. SF State runs shuttles using buses from the same fleet which are still wheelchair accessible. I believe they are operated by the same operator (both buses are parked at a lot at 16th and San Bruno).

  68. Since when is Leap a tech company? Because you can pay with your phone? It’s a transportation company.

  69. His argument seems to be that nobody should have something nice, even if they are willing to pay more for it, unless everyone can have something nice.

    By that argument, he should buy first-class seats on airlines for homeless people, just to be disruptive for the sake of it. Most of us grow out of that type of behavior in our teens.

  70. You mean like Tim Redmond and most progressives who think immigration laws don’t matter?

    I enjoy this law and order thing as much as the next guy until I don’t, just like you guys.

  71. Notice the naysayers’ selectivity of laws to be complied with.
    Would they say a start-up need NOT provide Social Security coverage, disability insurance [ SSDI], unemployment insurance, health benefits, and need NOT comply with OSHA regulations?
    Should start-ups be allowed to hire only men?
    Should start-ups be allowed NOT to provide benefits to domestic partners and same-gender spouses?
    Should start-ups be allowed to avoid hiring people of certain religious backgrounds or ethnicities?
    So, why should a start-up be allowed to avoid / evade compliance with civil rights laws?

    The naysayers are channeling Ronald Reagan.

  72. I know Greg. I get your idea. The concept of helping homeless people to maintain a sense of self respect isn’t an issue for you. They are just tools from which to create amusement for us.

  73. A simple work-around might be to set up this operation as a private riders’ club. Charge a membership fee and restrict usage to those in the club. It’s probably the same regular commuters each day so it should work well.

    A private commuter bus would not need to be ADA-compliant, any more than the Bay Club shuttle is.

  74. 1. Sharing economy to laws: We contribute to politicians so we don’t have to obey laws.
    2. Sharing economy to taxes: See #1
    3. Sharing economy to disabled people: Go away. See #1
    4. Sharing economy to income inequality: All that matters is the wealth of our CEOs.

  75. I think sffoghorn is right, and Jon Kozone inadvertently hit upon a good idea. Redmond and Planthold should stop complaining about this. Instead, take action! Planthold should actually get a person in a wheelchair to buy a pass, try to board, and sue their pants off after finding that it’s impossible.

  76. The homeless people would just be riding the bus. The entertainment would come from seeing the reactions of the techies.

  77. Oh. So we don’t REALLY maintain our respect for individuals once they are experiencing homelessness. They just become pawns for us to play games with. Got it.

  78. Or how about looking at things in a pragmatic manner. Let Leap find out if it has a viable business first. Then they can raise the money to go ADA compliant, which is obviously required.

    Meanwhile, no person using a wheelchair is inconvenienced; if anything there will be a few less people on Muni. If Leap can stay around then everyone, regardless of their physical situation, will have another commute option.

    Super Shuttle still struggles to be ADA compliant and had a terrible record early on. But now there is another way for wheelchair bound individuals to get to the airport. There might not be if everyone came down hard on Super Shuttle on day 1

  79. Do you ever get tired of erecting straw persons and arguing with others against creatures of your own instigation?

  80. Not all regulations that apply to old-school businesses necessarily make sense for the sharing economy and new business paradigms.

    When cars replaced horses, we dropped the horse laws.

  81. “Not to pick on Leap, but at some point the regulators are going to have
    to make clear that there are rules for everyone, and having a killer app
    and some venture capital funding doesn’t protect you.”

    How many more times will Lucy pull the football up from the tee before you realize that the rules have been changed out from under you and that plaintive appeals that a corrupt government do the right thing by speculative capital will result on you falling on your ass over and again?

  82. Why do you claim that upscale people taking this service would harm Muni?

    Since Muni is over-crowded during the rush hour, surely alternatives can only help Muni?

  83. Tim, you might try talking to the transit company (or the drivers or other non-management personnel) in Vallejo – they brought in a fleet of new buses a couple of years ago that, while supposedly able to meet ADA standards, we’re a big fail on several levels. They had an interior layout similar to the Leap buses with a step before a long narrow aisle – wheelchairs were not supposed to go back that far, not that they could. The lifts didn’t work all the time, either. Maybe Leap got some of those?

  84. I’d like to see people buy a bunch of Leap passes and just pass them out to high school kids in the Missiion.

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