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Thursday, December 10, 2009

Muni Metro - Nobody Likes You

This has gone beyond belief to hear about another problem with Muni Metro. Let's get our shotgun and put this out of its misery.

As the news reports have mentioned (SFGate, SF Appeal, and SFist): Last night, the overhead wire somewhere near Van Ness station fell down and caused a huge shutdown of Muni Metro service within the subway portions. This caused a major hardship to passengers now being forced to rely on inadequate shuttle buses packed to the gills and existing bus lines crammed with people for alternatives to get back home.

But what makes this entire problem even worse, the first word of this came from the Twitter users, but there was no official notice of a big problem until HOURS LATER by 511's website and 311's twitter.

Doesn't this agency understand that failing to tell the public will result in angry customers? Who in their right mind would ever ride the metro ever again after this bullshit? It's every single damn day there's something going wrong, and sure as hell, people are riding the buses more often because at least if one breaks down, another one can come by. But wait... Muni cut some bus lines or reduced service.

"Transit first city" my ass.


It is starting to become a new trend, when Muni doesn't feel like telling the general public that there's a problem or some type of change coming soon.

Remember the fast pass hike? I exposed Muni for not giving the public with ample time and they fessed-up by posting up the new pass changes the next day.

How about the time I exposed Muni for not putting-up the schedules and the interactive maps when the route changes were just a week away? Yeah, caught them again.

Get with the program Muni. The public distrusts you.

1 comment:

Alex said...

I am absolutely horrified at the way San Francisco Muni handles service delays. It's not that difficult to spread a message around.

For the last two years I've been living in New York and you can sign up to have text messages when there are delays. You can even tell what days and times you want the messages sent as well as the lines. This allows the rider to limit the number of messages sent to the phone.

It's so useful (especially considering the fact that the New York Subway has lots of problems) since it allows me to plan my journeys differently. I will say that being signed up for the text message service, I am probably informed of delays before anyone else since announcements are incomprehensible and there is a large lack of TV screens in the system. I will complement the MTA for such service as well as updating promptly their website at mta.info with any system delays. I will also note that system alerts also posts bus delays every once in a while - but only if there are reroutes or a major blockage.

What I would suggest to Muni is:
1. Set up a text message service that immediately notifies passengers of delays.
2. Post delays of service on the website where it is clearly visible. The current system of 511 announcements is not very clear since you have to scroll down all the junk at the top. Bold helps, but if there is a symbol that signals "alert" then that's even better.
3. There are all these NextBus screens around the city. Why not use them to post messages about delays too? In Paris, they frequently use television monitors around the Metro system to notify passengers of delays. In Japan, they are so advanced that some trains (like the Yamanote Line, one of the busiest rail lines) have LCD screens on top of every door that shows the next stop in English and Japanese, connections, maps of the stations, as well as any delays in the entire subway system. Absolutely impressive.
4. Clarify alternative routes. I heard from some sources that Muni transfers were valid on BART during this recent meltdown. Nowhere on 511 did it say so.