Reduce congestion – cut back on city department vehicles
There is heightened concern in the City and County of San Francisco about global warming trends. One possibility is for the City to re-assess its use of City-owned vehicles. According to the Fleet Management Department, the vehicle fleet numbers a total of 1,586 vehicles, not including trucks and other mobile equipment. Of these, 252 are San Francisco Police Patrol Vehicles and none of those would be eliminated under the following proposal.
The City could save considerable amounts of money and also reduce pollution that causes global warming by eliminating the use of those vehicles sit idle in leased parking facilities. For instance, social workers in the Department of Human Service visit clients but not before making an appointment. The same holds true for visiting nurses.
Use of automobiles in some city departments is minimal. The City could purchase vans for these departments to use as shuttles and hire drivers, eliminating car use altogether for certain workers. A shuttle van could drive six to eight of these workers to their appointment sites when they are generally in the same geographic area. Each worker would have a cell phone to use when ready to be picked up. This would lessen the burden on those employees having to find parking and in some cases, increase their personal safety. Other options would be for some workers to use commercial taxi services.
A recent San Francisco Examiner article points out that there are as many as 45,000 Uber and Lyft drivers active in San Francisco. The traffic standstill caused by these additional drivers makes it even more difficult for City workers to use the department cars. Riding in a shuttle is preferable to wending one’s way through traffic, allowing workers to use their laptops while being driven to a site or a client appointment.
Not only does the City have to fund the maintenance of the present fleet of cars but also every year it purchases new cars. In the past year (from 3/16 to 2/17) the City spent $3,266,767 buying118 cars.
The cost saving on the maintenance of little used vehicles is another factor. Each city vehicle requires an average of $1,732 maintenance per vehicle per year. Reducing the size of the fleet would save millions of dollars which the City could use for other vital services. We should not hold hostage human needs for the sake of owning metal and rubber. This is another area where San Francisco could be a leader in reducing global warming and also a model for other cities to emulate.
~~ Denise D’Anne