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Monday, July 6, 2009

New Idea for Fixing the 38 Geary - Fort Miley Shuttle

Since my previous posting about the possible changes approaching in the months ahead for SFMTA/Muni, I was wondering how feasible it would be to modify service on the 38-Geary and save money.

Muni's original proposal (the "TEP") says the agency wants to eliminate service on the 38-Geary Ocean Beach branch and force the 18-46th Avenue to take-over that eliminated route.

I argued that changing the two bus lines serving the Outer Richmond was not a good idea mainly because of access issues for disabled passengers on the 18 serving the Cliff House, and regular commuters who depend on the 38-Geary Ocean Beach branch being forced to wait up to 20 minutes for an 18-line to take them home. You can read about my arguments on page 19 (PDF document). As expected, Muni didn't give a damn in their response.


I just spent my weekend riding the 38-Geary local because the 38-Geary Limited on Saturday was a holiday and Sunday service does not provide limited buses. I thought to myself, is there a better way to cut service on Muni and limiting the frustration and damage to the public?

I knew the solution!

Instead of deleting service to Ocean Beach, why doesn't Muni consider deleting service to Fort Miley (a.k.a. V.A. Hospital) and replace the short segment with a shuttle service?

Here's why taking away the 38-Geary Fort Miley service is a useful idea:
  1. 95% of the route covering Transbay Terminal to/from Fort Miley is already being served by the 38-Geary Limited (weekdays and Saturdays to 48th Avenue), and 38-Geary (regular/local to 48th Avenue) on Sundays and holidays.
  2. I see many hospital workers exit at 42nd Avenue and walk it to the hospital. This includes the passengers riding the 18-46th Avenue towards Legion of Honor who also exit at 42nd Avenue.
  3. Ocean Beach passengers can continue to take the local bus directly to their destination.
  4. 18-46th Avenue passengers who have limited mobility can still access the Cliff House without struggling the steep hill.
  5. 18-46th Avenue passengers who work at Fort Miley hospital will not have to transfer at 33rd Avenue/Geary for the Fort Miley bus (assuming if TEP eliminates the 38-Geary Ocean Beach branch).
  6. For disabled passengers and people who cannot make it up the hill to the hospital, Muni should provide one shuttle bus (a mini bus used on the 89-Laguna Honda) that serves the hospital and serves all local stops up to 33rd Avenue. Why 33rd Avenue? See below.
  7. 33rd Avenue should be a transfer point for all local bus passengers riding the 38-Geary Ocean Beach branch so they can cross the street and wait for the Fort Miley shuttle. For 38-Geary Limited passengers, they can exit at any point between 33rd Avenue and 42nd Avenue for the shuttle.
  8. If Muni wants to save money by only using the shuttle on days when the limited bus is in use (weekdays and Saturdays)... the regular 38-Geary service (weeknights and Sundays) should revert to their old service that was "48th Avenue via Fort Miley" where outbound passengers can request service to the driver for Fort Miley, and when waiting for the bus at the hospital, they press the signal button that notifies the driver at 48th Avenue/Pt. Lobos to pick them up.
I believe this is a great solution that does not drastically affect an entire neighborhood.

If Muni can run one shuttle bus that serves Laguna Honda hospital from Forest Hill metro station, why can't they do that from 33rd/42nd Avenue to Fort Miley? Why run 60 foot buses every 15 minutes with so few passengers to Fort Miley terminal, when one shuttle bus can just run in circles for the short hop down a hill to ride the super fast 38-Geary Limited or to 33rd Avenue to catch the local 38?

I see plenty of passengers wait for the 38-Geary Ocean Beach branch going towards downtown (I shop at Safeway frequently and eat at Kam's), and the 18-46th Avenue can continue to serve the Cliff House where accessibility problems are a big concern. I wonder why the hospital workers who depend on the 18 doesn't complain to Muni of making it a big inconvenience?

Plus, the Ocean Beach terminal has plenty of bus parking spots; if Muni eliminates that segment, extra buses will be forced to crowd-up at 48th Avenue or Fort Miley, and they are usually full during the day hours, and forces buses to park illegally.


I would love to hear your comments about my new proposal. Will it work or will it fail? I know that folks from the MTC, Muni, and elected officials read this blog, so what you suggest may work!

It worked for me when Phil Bronstein and Eve Batey helped me out by getting Muni to BART discount coupons accepted for AT&T Park fans, and I'm still thankful for their help.

(Photo from Flickr user: ocu-master using a Creative Commons license)


nanio said...

UCSF runs a hourly shuttle from Parnassus to the VA. I wonder if there were some way to work with the hospitals to increase the frequency of that route and add a stop somewhere along Geary.

Akit said...

Interesting idea.

One point I need to make, if my plan were to work, that shuttle would have to stop at 33rd/Geary. Basically because any person who rides the 38-Geary local bus does not go directly or even near V.A.