Chariot issued new guidance against duplicating Muni routes

Private transit service companies like Chariot will not be able to compete with Muni service under new rules by the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency.

Last October, the SFMTA Board of Directors approved a new permit program for jitneys in The City but left out rules on what could be considered a duplication of a Muni route.

SFMTA transportation planner Alex Jonlin said the transit agency and Chariot — the only private transit service currently operating in The City — have come to an agreement on rules when it comes to Chariot following Muni routes.

Jonlin said Chariot should complement Muni service, not replicate the service.

An earlier proposal at the October board meeting, said the SFMTA would have considered any private transit vehicle routes a duplication if at least 75 percent of the route uses the same street or parallel street within 0.2 miles within an existing Muni route.

Also, any transit stops by jitneys made within 0.2 miles of Muni rapid or express service, would have also been considered a duplication of a Muni route.

Under a draft memorandum by SFMTA Director of Transportation Ed Reiskin dated Feb. 20, private transit vehicle routes are considered complementary to Muni service if fewer than 75 percent of private transit vehicle stops are 0.2 miles within a Muni stop.

In the memo, the SFMTA will consider routes as complementary if there is a significant difference in stop spacing when comparing to a Muni route.

Jonlin said there are exceptions to route duplications such as providing service in underserved neighborhoods, providing service outside of the hours of Muni service, and if private transit vehicle routes provide trips to Caltrain or BART with the exception of Market Street stations and the Transbay Transit Center.

Routes already operating as of Aug. 1, 2017 are not subject to the duplication rule, according to the memo.

The new duplication rules does not need approval by the SFMTA Board of Directors, but Jonlin presented the directors the new rules at its Tuesday regular board meeting.

Chariot is the only private transit vehicle operator who has applied for a permit, and is currently under the review process, according transit officials.

The company provides a bus service on fixed routes, and can be accessed through its mobile app..