"Akit is the man. He knows Clipper." (spenta)
"It’s a fantastic blog for any San Franciscan."
"Your blog is always on point, and well researched!" (Nina Decker)
"Everyone's favorite volunteer public policy consultant..." (Eve Batey, SF Appeal)
"You are doing a great job keeping on top of Translink stuff. Keep up the good work!"
(Greg Dewar, N Judah Chronicles)
"...I don't even bother subscribing anywhere else for my local public transportation info. You have it all..."
(Empowered Follower)
"If anyone at City Hall wants to make public transit better for all San Franciscans, it would be wise to follow Akit religiously...
or, better yet, give him a job."
(Brock Keeling, SFist)

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Dear Nat Ford and Temporary SFMTA Chief Debra Johnson

(Parody Photo) Nat Ford, CEO SFMTA

Dear Nat Ford,

Today is your last day in office. Feeling good about getting out of your job? I think everyone else in this city will feel even better than you because the reign of Ford is ending.

I feel I speak for everyone when I say, bye bye and go away. We Muni passengers have suffered a lot with a system in shambles, major delays, a way too predictable delays on the metro system, and unions so out of control that it took voters to finally kick them in the ass (thanks Proposition G).

Oh, and don't forget CultureBus, San Francisco's famous taxpayer waste project. Let's not also forget the Central Subway project, in which some has called it the "Rose Pak subway."

So long! If you are going to stick around SF for a while, why not ride Muni on a daily basis and pay the jacked-up price of $62 a month that starts tomorrow?

Akit & the fed-up citizens of San Francisco who is ready to party when you leave office at 5PM


Who is replacing Nat Ford? It's Debra Johnson, the head of the taxicab and accessibility department of the SFMTA. Here's a letter for her:

Dear Interim SFMTA Chief Debra Johnson,

This is not the job for you. The taxicab commission is in turmoil with cab drivers pretty upset about the 5% credit card fees and being one of the most extremely regulated and expensive places to ride a cab in this city.

I remember talking to a cab driver in Las Vegas and he said that while Vegas is very regulated, he thought our city was outright nuts.

Basically, if you can't keep good control and keep the cabbies happy, how are you going to handle the additional responsibilities of being the super boss of Muni and the Department of Parking & Traffic?

Fix the taxicab problem first, then take a shot at being the boss of the conglomerate. If you are going to stick around and be the boss of the SFMTA for a while, remember to not be a puppet of the mayor; you serve the citizens of this fine city and when we detect bullshit, we point fingers at the mega boss.

Akit & many others worried the SFMTA will never lower Muni pass prices

Monday, June 27, 2011

Clipper Could be Overcharging You for Using Transfers (UPDATE: Clipper Admits Error, Refunds to be Issued)

Muni Transfer and Muni to BART Coupon

Fellow blogger, John Murphy, posted a blog entry asking people to guess correctly how much he paid with his Clipper card when he took Muni and BART. The prize for the first correct answer was some micro-brewed beer.

Here's the situation:
  1. Rode a Muni bus to the 24th Street BART station.
  2. Transferred to BART to exit in downtown SF.
  3. Transferred to Muni.

What would the answer be? The most obvious answer would be: $3.75. This is computed as:
  1. $2 for the Muni ride
  2. $1.75 for the BART ride within SF
  3. The second Muni ride is free because the transfer is valid from the time issued from the first ride.

Actually, John experienced something that hasn't been fixed by Clipper. He paid $5.50. Let's break this down:
  1. $2 for first Muni ride
  2. $1.75 for BART ride
  3. $1.75 for second Muni ride (saved 25 cents off automatically due to BART to Muni e-transfer)
Why did he get charged an extra $1.75?
John did use the same Clipper card and transferred to his second Muni bus within 90 minutes of tagging his card on the first Muni bus, but was overcharged, which doesn't make a lot of sense.

What happened is he did receive an e-transfer from his first ride on Muni, but when he took BART, his e-Muni transfer was wiped off and the "BART to Muni" transfer was encoded; this meant that instead of a free ride utilizing the e-Muni transfer, he was charged $1.75 by using the other e-transfer.

This can also happen on other agencies, such as taking BART and AC Transit. An AC Transit passenger could use their Clipper card to pay e-cash for their ride to BART, take BART, and transfer to another AC Transit vehicle to get to their destination. AC Transit's transfer policy is that transferring to another AC Transit bus is just 25 cents, but if the passenger took BART, the 25 cent offer gets wiped off and the passenger instead pays $1.75 to AC Transit.

How can this be fixed?
The easiest solution is for passengers to carry a second Clipper card or pay with cash for some of the rides, but I think this is just a waste of plastic and the need to think creatively to get around the system.

Let's ask the folks at MTC, Clipper, and Cubic. I'm waiting for an answer. Leave a comment.

John asked Clipper on Facebook for answer on why he was overcharged. Here's how they responded:
You're correct - you should not have been charged for the second ride.

This was an incorrect implementation of Muni's transfer policy and MTC has been working with our contractor to fix the issue.

We encourage customers to access their online transaction history records to determine if they were overcharged for this transfer trip. Customers who are affected by this issue should contact Clipper Customer Service to request a refund for the $1.75 that they were overcharged.
I can't believe they publicly admitted to a mistake. That's rare.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Time to Dismantle the SFMTA?

Here's a good question for everyone to think about... would you dismantle the SF Municipal Transportation Agency? Or as most of us locals call it, the SFMTA or the MTA.

I think it's time to break it apart. Since there's a big shakeup with management with Nat Ford leaving office on June 30th and the number two man (the boss of Muni) resigning, and the arbitrator kicking the union's ass, it's the perfect time.

Back in the good old days, Muni was it's own agency, DPT was under the police department riding three wheel motorcycles around the city, and the taxicab folks was just themselves. It wasn't until Nat Ford came along and combined the three agencies into one big conglomerate umbrella known as the SFMTA with a bloated $300,000+ salary.

We already knew the shit hit the fan with Muni long before the SFMTA was created; the infamous "Muni Meltdown" of 1998 caused the downward spiral did it's job well. But someone had to handle the cleaning of the fans, and who else but Nat Ford?

Yeah... Nat Ford, the man who had to control three agencies under one roof, and things didn't go so great under the SFMTA umbrella:
  1. Muni has been the punching bag for the public for a long time, but these last few years has sucked the most with major pass hikes, cuts in service, a half-ass "restoration" of service, uncontrollable union until us citizens passed Proposition G, and lots more.
  2. DPT just ain't cool anymore. Ever tried calling them to demand a car to be towed? I have, and they hung up on me.
  3. The taxicab commission is just being bombarded by pissed-off cab drivers every single time there's a meeting, from medallions to 5% surcharges for credit cards.
Maybe it's time to split the three agencies and let them be themselves. Split Nat Ford's salary to pay appropriately to have one boss run each agency, and pray to god they won't be a puppet of the Mayor, like how Nat Ford was Newsom's puppet.

What's your thoughts?

Lastly, don't forget to "like" me on Facebook! The Complaint Department is there for your entertainment!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Samtrans Monthly Passes Goes Clipper Only in January 2012

Samtrans is joining the Clipper card bandwagon by moving some of their fare products. Starting January 2011, all passes must be loaded onto a Clipper card.

There are some funny parts to this change in policy. Once this process starts, there will be no prorated passes you can buy for a discount. Also, the Clipper card in-person vendors are spread a little thin around San Mateo County; all Walgreens locations near the Caltrain tracks can handle the purchasing of passes, but if you depend on Samtrans in Half Moon Bay and the coastline areas, you are screwed.

I'm curious to know if anyone even uses Clipper on Samtrans, other than those Caltrain passengers with a two+ zone monthly pass. I wait for my 18-46th Avenue bus at a joint Muni/Samtrans stop and all the passengers who boards pays in cash.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Dreams Do Come True! Muni Gets Major Ass Kicking

Nat Ford, CEO SFMTA (Parody3)
I dreamed of the day when the real owners of Muni kicks some serious ass...

It was really cool when the arbitrator kicked the Muni's drivers union's butt by forcing them to take the contract.

But it made it five million times sweeter with this news...

NAT FORD IS QUITTING! (Sources: Chronicle and Examiner)


I wonder if the training bus accident photos also contributed to Nat Ford quitting his job? Or maybe it was my parody letter to the Washington D.C. Airport Authority?

It's time to celebrate! We should have a big public party to say, "Muni's reign of terror is over! The people have spoken!"

More Photos of Last Week's Muni Training Bus Accident

The training bus accident (on Akit's Complaint Department) that got fame on SFist, SF Appeal, Muni Diaries, and FAIL Blog... now there's more photos to share!

My co-worker, Anthony, was at the accident site when it happened last week around 10AM. He said he heard a loud crash and learned the bus drove over the smaller (flat) rock, then the bus went over the jagged rock. He snapped all the photos you'll see below.

Here's the photos, enjoy! If you want to see the entire photo set, click here.

More Muni Training Bus Accident FAIL
More Muni Training Bus Accident FAIL
More Muni Training Bus Accident FAIL
More Muni Training Bus Accident FAIL

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

One Less Step for Caltrain Monthly Pass Users using Clipper

I know a lot of you are griping about the complicated and sometimes pain in the ass process with using Clipper cards on Caltrain, and especially with monthly passes.

Caltrain Monthly Passes
A curious question was posted on Clipper's Facebook page by Henry about the tag-on and tag-off policy on the first day of travel for those using monthly passes by purchasing in-person vendors and self-service machines.

Clipper came back with a really amazing answer:
  • If you purchased your Caltrain monthly pass at an in-person vendor or a self-service machine, you DO NOT need to tag-on and off on the first day of travel for the new month.
Why? Same principle Clipper has been teaching us, in-person vendors and self-service machines loads it on the card immediately. This also resolves complications for those passengers whose first day of travel may go beyond their designated zones; they can now purchase a paper zone upgrade ticket while utilizing the zones loaded on their Clipper card.

However... if you utilize autoload, or purchased it online or phone, tagging on and off the first day of travel is still required in order to load the pass onto the card.

But, no matter which way you pay for a Clipper card, there must still be a minimum of $1.25 e-cash on the Clipper card at all times.

So Why is Caltrain & Clipper Still Encouraging Tagging-On and Off?
Both agencies still encourage the tactic because Caltrain on Clipper is already way too complicated. By telling everyone to do the tag-on and off steps, it makes it easier to market Clipper to everyone who uses monthly passes (regardless of how it was paid).

I write a lot, so here's the simple way to explain it:
  • Self service or vendor purchase of a Caltrain pass? No need to tag card on Caltrain.
  • Online, phone, or autoload? Yes.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

An Awesome Week for Akit

This has to be one of the best weeks for me in a long time.

The Bus Incident
On Wednesday at the Complaint Department, I was able to snap a couple of photos of a Muni bus that got stuck on top of a huge rock that was situated in the roundabout (traffic circle) at SF State. One of my fellow office co-workers said, "Akit, get your camera and get outside!" I did and I was laughing my ass off and telling my other co-workers at an all-staff meeting later that day.

I took the shots of the side of the bus and it being towed, but a big credit goes to my co-worker, Ryan, who snapped the best photo showing where the rock damaged the bus.

The incident was featured on SFist and SF Appeal within an hour of me posting the photos on Twitter and Flickr.

To make it even more amusing, my co-worker who snapped the best photo also posted it on Fail Blog and because it was such a great photo, it was featured on their main page where tens of thousands visit every single day. It's titled: "Training Fail." I can't believe there were some commentators who knew where that accident was located. That made my day even better on Friday at work. The next day, the Fail Blog post was mentioned on Muni Diaries.

Akit on the Scoreboard?
The photo featured on this blog post was at the Giants game on Friday the 10th. During a break in the second inning, there was a question on the board and the person who tweets the right answer first, gets to be on the "Tron" later that night.

I took a punch and quickly asked some people around me to confirm the answer, and it was correct and was the first to answer! I was featured on a @SFGiants tweet with my photo taken too.

A member of the Orange and Black Attack asked me to wear the Giants eye black and after the end of the 7th inning, I was on the big screen! Unfortunately, an old friend who sat next to me, forgot to snap a photo of me on the screen. Anyone have a shot of it?

I hope you had or will have a great week too. Take care!

Friday, June 10, 2011

June 2011 Clipper Card Updates from MTC's Operations Committee

Clipper on Muni
The Operations Committee of the MTC will be meeting today at 9:30AM to discuss about what else to spend money on.

The minutes from last month's meeting (PDF document) shows the committee asked questions about the $2 monthly fee charged to those who uses third-party benefit programs and gets their passes/e-cash directly loaded to their Clipper cards. The MTC rep at the microphone said the fee is similar to what others around the nation gets charged. The fee will last for two years and will be re-reviewed after the two years is up.

At today's meeting, Clipper will be discussed in agenda item #4 (PDF document).

Here's highlights about Clipper for the month of May & early June:
  • Muni's senior pass has fully transitioned to Clipper only.
  • Clipper cards used on BART accounts for 32% of all BART fare transactions. Advertising about the Clipper card at stations is given credit for the nearly 1/3rd of all ridership.
  • People did not take the $2 monthly fee for direct loading of passes very lightly. When compared to the past (when the fee was not charged) and today (the fee charged), only 61% said okay to paying the fee; 39% said no thanks to the fee and found alternate ways to get around it.
  • Cubic is asking the MTC to shift 50% of their customer service work to a Cubic call center in Tennessee. Since the customer service phone center is in Concord, in case if there's a major power outage or problem, the Tennessee office can take the brunt.
  • Booz Allen Hamilton, a consulting firm for Clipper has a new parent company. It doesn't affect the MTC or Clipper that much.
Contract Actions
The Operations committee will be voting upon some contracts and change of contracts:
  1. A total of $1,241,000 in contracts to three companies that handles customer education and promotion of the Clipper program, and one company that conducts inspection of equipment and budgeting.
  2. $250,000 will be invested to open a third Clipper customer service center. This new customer service center will be located in Oakland and will be contracted to the AC Transit ticketing office. The new service center will include advertising and improved equipment to allow such services as replacing a defective card.

Akit's Opinion & Analysis
It's amazing to believe 32% of all BART transactions happens with a Clipper card. When you don't have to worry about demagnetizing tickets and not forgetting to take a paper transfer before leaving the station, that's a big plus.

I'm still not pleased with the $2 fee for adding passes and other fare media directly to Clipper cards. A process that's so easy shouldn't come with a cost; but the alternate options with no fee can be a hassle: debit cards and vouchers costs money to produce and mail, and takes time out of peoples' day to obtain their next fare media. Clipper, MTC, and the commuter benefit agencies shouldn't wait two years, talk NOW. If 39% of people backed out, that's a serious sign the idea is FAILING.

Hard facts to swallow: The MTC says that in February 2011 "about 20,000 Clipper customers were taking advantage of the automated add value services through third party transit benefit programs..." Since 39% of people rejected the $2 hike, this computes to 7,800 people saying "up yours" to paying the fee.

If Cubic wants to shift 50% of the customer service phone calls to another state, doesn't that just mean layoffs here in the Bay Area?

It's good there will be a third in-person customer service center, and it will be the first for the East Bay. In all honesty, there should be Clipper customer service centers at all transit agency main offices or major transit hubs so it covers each county.

Lastly, why not join ("Like") the new Akit's Complaint Department fan page on Facebook? Click here and join in the fun!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Ouch! Muni Bus Drives Over a Big Rock

Improved Muni on Rock Photo

And you thought your day on Muni was bad. The trainee driver hit a rock!

See more photos by clicking here, and here.

UPDATE (11:39 AM): Tow truck on site. See below.

UPDATE: 11:39AM - Tow truck trying to get vehicle out

Open Thoughts about the Clipper Card

Before I start today's blog post, I'd like to thank everyone for trusting Akit's Complaint Department for being your resource for the Clipper card program. It's great to hear positive and negative input, and people leaving me e-mails and comments about how helpful I've been for the past couple of years.


Today, I feel it's time to just let out a stream of consciousness about the Clipper card with everything that's been going on.

A lot has changed in the past year. Nearly a year ago, TransLink was re-named Clipper, and while I'll never really understand why the name change and the massive $1 million+ cost of doing so, a lot of growth has happened throughout just a period of one year. Being at the press conference at Hyde Street Pier of the debut of the Clipper card program was quite interesting; people from the MTC, Swirl marketing and Cubic knew who I was (odd, ain't it?), and I was one of the first ever to receive the brand new Clipper card, which I am actively using today.

Surely the growth of Clipper has had their successes:
  1. Full transition of passes for agencies like Muni and Caltrain.
  2. Addition of the two remaining major transit agencies: VTA and Samtrans.
  3. New Muni metro gates with full Clipper integration.
  4. Full use of Clipper ticketing for all Golden Gate Ferry terminals.
  5. All BART ticketing machines able to add e-cash.
  6. New customer service centers at Embarcadero station and the Bay Crossings store at SF Ferry Building.
  7. Saving Mother Nature with less printing of paper passes, and littering of paper transfers on the city streets.
  8. Showing its true worth when hundreds of thousands of Giants fans converged on downtown for the World Series parade.
And their challenges...
  1. Caltrain's complicated Clipper policies.
  2. Delayed activation of Clipper on Samtrans.
  3. People having a hard time with the switchover (it took 30 minutes to explain to my Mom about the switch of the "M" pass).
  4. Proper training for Cable Car conductors.
  5. Simultaneous failure of Muni's Clipper readers.
  6. Card readers going on meltdown mode by beeping like crazy.
  7. The big local media kicking Clipper in the shin a few too many times.
  8. Annoying $2 fee for those using third-party commuter benefit programs.

What is really cool about how Clipper is doing these days is while many bicker and whine the program sucks or have problems, many just don't say anything because it works fine. I see that to be a normal pattern anywhere you are: 99% are satisfied, and there will be those few who makes such a fuss that it's a bigger problem than it really is. I encounter that at work all the time, we have 3,000+ clients, and there are always a few that will boil the staff's blood.

When Clipper was rolled out and certain passes became mandatory, lots of people initially argued that their card can't be read and received the dreaded "three beeps of death." People eventually learned that the cards are not meant to be swiped or quickly touched; these days, I find it extremely rare there are scanning problems because many knows how do it correctly after trying it out several times (practice makes perfect!).

But there are those days when I wonder about some people who have received citations from Muni fare inspectors when the passenger obeyed the policies correctly about proper use of Clipper. Sometimes I learn of a few people who got tickets for fare evasion when the rules clearly states that a broken card reader is the equivalent of a broken fare box, therefore the passenger should not pay in cash for the ride.

Also, I have sympathy for those who accidentally forgets to tag-off for Caltrain, therefore being charged maximum fare, and those who gets accidentally double-charged or overcharged. It's not a comfy feeling when your money gets involved in problems and can ruin your day.

Nearly Ten Years Ago

I've been a part of Clipper/TransLink since 2002 when I volunteered to take the plastic card and try it out around the Bay Area. Nearly ten years later, we come to this point where the program has expanded to be possibly the largest such universal transit fare card program in the nation, or at least what they said in 1999 when it was dreamed-up. Even then, I wonder how Clipper compares to other giant universal fare card programs, such as Orca in the Seattle/Puget Sound region, and the SmarTrip card in the Washington D.C. area.

Out of the nearly ten years since I started using Clipper/TransLink, I've hit a few bumps in the road, from having Muni passes not expire for six months (this was way back during trial testing), a Muni driver threatening to throw my card out the window because the monthly sticker issued to me by Muni was an alleged fake, broken readers here and there, fare inspectors not carrying proper equipment, a BART station agent cussing me out, and some others I just can't recall.

But even after all those hassles, there's been some great positive experiences. I go out on public transit more often on weekends, especially getting the steep discounts on Golden Gate Ferry for the great views and having a nice lunch in Sausalito. The card has made it much easier for me to travel from Daly City BART to AT&T Park (via Muni) without carrying multiple fare media around and worrying if the magnetic stripe will be erased.

Still Dreaming...
People want more out of Clipper, and I absolutely agree! The Metro rail and bus system in Washington D.C. gives out more discounts and benefits for their SmarTrip card users vs. what Clipper and our area transit agencies offers. For example: D.C. gives an extra hour longer on transfers.

Here's a list of items I wish Clipper could do to benefit us transit riders and the public:
  1. Offer BART high value discount tickets without signing-up for autoload.
  2. Make the program rules less complex, and especially for Caltrain passengers.
  3. Extend transfers with an extra 30 minutes.
  4. Automatic earning of passes for spending a minimum e-cash amount within a certain time period (a.k.a. pass accumulator).
  5. Regional transit pass, similar to BART Plus.
  6. Special tourist cards, with value automatically added for a round-trip ride on BART and a cash value or daily passes for Muni.
  7. Ability to add Clipper value at all Caltrain stations.
  8. Ability to buy more than just e-cash at BART ticketing machines.
  9. Extend abilities beyond transit to include paying for parking meters and lots. In Hong Kong, they use the Octopus card to do attendance at schools.
  10. Offer various types of Clipper cards, such as small ones on key chains, and sticker tags to be placed on cell phones.
  11. Eliminate the Muni 10-ride book (there's no discount for buying rides in bulk).
For now, enjoy this great Wednesday. Coming up next time at Akit's Complaint Department: updates from the MTC's Operations Committee.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Car Crash at Great Highway & Lincoln - Akit Warned SFPD 2 Hours Earlier of Signal Problems

I am not impressed with the slow response of SFPD and the irresponsibility from the city government on the handling of Upper Great Highway.

Loyal readers of my blog knows I write about Upper Great Highway and when the stretch of roads closes due to flooding or too much sand on the road. When the city government or the police closes a road, they are responsible for switching the signals at Lincoln (Southbound closure) and/or Sloat (Northbound closure) to four-way stop. When the city FAILS to do it, I call 311, DPT signals, or SFPD dispatch to warn them the signals are operating normally (red-yellow-green cycle). Read this story to understand why failing to switch the signals to 4-way stop can be a problem.

What happened today?
Southbound Upper Great Highway was closed today at Lincoln due to the rains from last night. How do I know it was closed today? I drove northbound at about 11:15PM last night after the Giants game, and southbound traffic was flowing normally.

At 3PM, I drove my car along Great Highway to enter the "Upper" stretch at Lincoln, but I noticed the metal barricades indicating a closure, and the signals was not operating on 4-way stop.

I had no choice but to turn left and drive along the "Lower" Great Highway, which is the alternate parallel street when the road was closed. I pulled my car over and called SFPD at 3:07PM (see proof below).

Proof I Called Police Prior to Accident

I told the dispatcher about the road closure and the signals not switched to 4-way stop. I also told the dispatcher that there is a very high chance a car may collide with another vehicle because some drivers turn left on the red arrow, and risks getting t-boned with northbound traffic. I also warned the dispatcher that without the 4-way stop, four lanes of traffic southbound must turn left into just two open lanes; local residents know that when there's a 4-way stop at the intersection, all drivers merge into the left turn lanes and follows the 4-way stop rules.

At 5:30PM, I was on northbound Upper Great Highway and noticed police cars and a fire truck at Lincoln. There was a collision of two cars, a grey luxury car's front bumper was smashed into a blue compact car's rear right corner. I had to go around the scene and was able to take a photograph of it:

Accident at Great Highway & Lincoln

Akit is Very Unhappy
I WARNED SFPD two hours ago about the potential risk of an accident where two cars will collide due to the road closure of SB Upper Great Highway at Lincoln AND the failure to switch the signals to 4-way red.

There is blame to share, one of the two drivers did not follow the signal or someone ran the red light.

Also, SFPD, DPT signals, and any other city agency is to blame for FAILURE to switch the signals to four-way red/stop. I have called 311, DPT, and SFPD dispatch numerous times throughout the years of the failure to switch the signals when the road is closed. Sometimes they do it, many times NO.


This is a WARNING to the city government, DO YOUR JOBS and make sure to switch the signals to 4-way stop whenever you shut-down Upper Great Highway at the cross-street of Lincoln.

Someone could have been KILLED or seriously injured if the accident was much worse.

UPDATE: Someone fixed the signal to 4-way stop sometime after the accident. I noticed it from the top of a hill at about 9PM.

Friday, June 3, 2011

New Parking Policy at Coit Tower - DPT Doesn't Enforce It

Coit Tower
Coit Tower, it's a historical landmark that represents our proud city, has gorgeous views of the Bay, and the famous wild parrots in the trees.

But as a result of the popularity and we are currently in the peak of tourist season, Coit Tower is known for a heck of lot of headaches. Parking is next to impossible during daytime hours, many drivers decide to park in illegal spots, and traffic along the only road (Telegraph) can be pretty congested. Idiots like the SUV driver below, doesn't mind driving over a pile of wood chips the city placed there.

Parking Fail: Coit Tower 3

Just yesterday, the SFMTA's press office published a news release to start their second year of the summer pilot program where only neighborhood residents are permitted to park at Coit Tower's parking lot during weekends (using a special permit). The SFMTA is encouraging all tourists and visitors to take Muni's 39-Coit line to the landmark.

The goal is to prevent the heavy congestion on Telegraph which results in major delays of up to 15-20 minutes for the 39-Coit bus and the carbon emissions from cars idling and driving in circles around the parking lot.

San Francisco SFMTA DPT Officer Vomiting

Good idea, help the NIMBYs out by giving them some parking access. But that's not my concern, it's trying to even enforce the parking policy in the first place.
  • Last summer, I visited Coit Tower at least three times on the weekends and always took Muni to get there. Two of the three occasions, I was stuck on the Muni bus for 20 minutes because of the traffic to the parking lot.
  • The DPT parking officers were NEVER there when I visited the area.
  • During occasions when I arrived to Coit Tower, I'd see cars blanketed with parking tickets for failure to have the neighborhood parking permit, but the DPT officer never sticks around to help keep traffic flowing and boot out those double parked in the circle.
  • I even called DPT enforcement to ask them why they are not enforcing policy, arguing the Muni buses are running 20 minutes late because of traffic. The asshole hung-up on me.
If the SFMTA wants to be serious about keeping traffic flowing around the area and keep the 39-Coit bus running on-time, get a parking officer up there during day hours on the weekends for the rest of the summer. Handing out pamphlets, informing the Visitor's Bureau, and spreading the word on your website won't prevent tourists (who can't read a sign in red letters) from violating the rules.