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Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Has Muni Hit Rock Bottom?

Here's a good question for everyone, has San Francisco's Muni hit rock bottom?

If you are wondering... "why are you asking this Akit?" I'm concerned about the state of our public transportation system. It's been in such a decline for nearly a decade, ever since the infamous "meltdown" on the Muni metro system and immediately spreads to the rest of the agency's bus lines.

The meltdown was a sign of big anger for the city, and the head guy at that time came under fire. Mayor Willie Brown promised to fix Muni, but that didn't last. Even our previous mayor (before Brown), Frank Jordan came under fire for eliminating transfers and raising the cost of a fast pass.

But it looks like under the Gavin Newsom era, things don't seem to be going in the right path for our transit agency.

Take a look at the list of items that I believe have made Muni simply hit rock bottom:
  1. Passenger injuries are creating crazy settlements. I just witnessed one recently at West Portal inbound when a lady injured her ankle upon boarding the train because the driver forgot to raise the stairs.
  2. More frequently broken-down buses. If you ride a bus line with a 20 minute or 30 minute headway and it doesn't show-up due to a breakdown, you'd be pissed that you would have to wait much longer.
  3. Muni metro is a total insult to our city. It's almost every single day that there's some kind of problem with the light rail system.
  4. Letting NIMBYs get their way, like the folks on Union who didn't want articulated buses in their neighborhood, even though it's a fact that the bus line is at crush loads on the regular 40-foot buses.
  5. More violence on the vehicles. A kid stabbed and no video footage? A fight that got over 500,000 views in 48 hours?
  6. What happened to preventative maintenance?
  7. More graffiti, and some of the places they graffiti is impossible to remove.
  8. Bad passengers who really need a swift boot up their ass. You don't have the right to hog three seats with your legs or clip your nails in public.
  9. Transit bus drivers that should have been fired a long time ago.
  10. A really messed-up union. They tried to file an injunction against KGO-TV from letting them get public records on driver complaints.
What does it take in this city to get Muni on the brighter end? The New York Subway system gained an infamous reputation for its graffiti, broken down trains, and nearly on the verge of collapse in the 1980's. This was because the government didn't invest in the trains and money was being funneled towards freeways and bridges for cars. But look at New York now, they have a clean and well operated transit system with tons of police. It's like Muni is the 1980's version of the New York subway.

It's time for San Francisco to reinvest in it's public transportation system NOW. Saying there's "no money" is never an excuse; an easy way to get money is by simply firing the top brass of Muni and hiring new folks at much less pay.


Erorg said...

Im gonna have to go ahead and agree with you. We dont need money spent on these silly new LED lit bus stops, we need that money spent on new buses and the like.

murphstahoe said...

It was MUCH worse in 1997 when I moved here. I lived across the street from the 22 in Potrero Hill. Sometimes I would plan a night of carousing in the Marina. My roommate and I would grab a six pack and sit on the steps, waiting for the 22. As often as not, we would finish the whole six pack before a bus showed up.

Not only do I see less instances of no bus for an hour - at least I can tell if there will be a bus in the next hour with nextBus.

This said, it should not be rocket science to correct the majority of your complaints. Just because it's better than rock bottom, is not a reason to deal with it.

Akit said...

Ahhh, 1997, I was in high school back then. I remember the 43-Masonic was so packed that the driver would skip us and it was another 20 minute wait.

Even worse, one driver had a vengeance on some young students and intentionally skipped them on an empty bus.

Anonymous said...

In the next several months Muni is going to get worse.