It's been twelve days, and now it's time to ask the big question...
Is Muni's new all-door boarding policy actually working?
In my opinion, the answer would be both yes and no.
For Muni lines where rear-door boarding was happening all the time prior to the change in policy, I don't see much of a difference. For example, I rode the 38L Geary Limited in both directions from 48th Avenue & Point Lobos to Geary & Park Presidio and things just seemed the same. At the stops deep in the avenues where the bus would only pick up less than a few people, everyone still boarded the front door, regardless if they had a Clipper card or paper transfer in hand. At the "major" stops like 25th & Geary and 20th & Geary, people boarded the rear doors as they did prior to July 1st.
For Muni lines that are not heavily used, the boarding process was much quicker. Less people had to wait in line to board the front door, so the rear doors became the quick way to get on the bus and help reduce the dwell time.
One good example was on July 5th when I was at the Golden Gate Bridge on the San Francisco side. I was waiting for the 28-19th Avenue bus and saw a group of ladies in a tour group with Clipper cards in hand waiting for the bus. Instead of that mob boarding the front door, about three-fourths of them boarded the rear door and sat on the back half of the bus. As you may know, a lot of tourists like boarding the front door and never moving to the back (thank you F-Market tourists), but boarding the rear doors encouraged them to take the seats in the back.
Some big mistakes Muni did:
- They made the announcement too late about rear door boarding, they only gave the public five days notice. When Muni informs the public about service cuts and fare hikes, they do it MONTHS in advance.
- There's a lack of advertising. With only five days notice, all they did was put information on their website, and some signage in the buses. Some of us bloggers help spread the word, but having full page ads in newspapers and extra time to announce the program would have benefited Muni much more.
- The all-door boarding stickers are so small. The one you see on the top of this blog entry is for Muni metro. The sticker is about the length of your hand. I would have expected something a bit bigger for people to see and read. The universal images help a little, but maybe a few words in English may make it easier for people to inform them that boarding the rear is okay.