PUBLIC TRANSIT Recommendations 2010

I.  Early Action Items

  1. Start a citywide dialogue on Muni.  The discussion should be ongoing and should include motorists, Muni drivers, Muni riders, neighborhood groups, business people, labor groups, low income groups, ethnic groups, seniors, youth and the disabled.  To get anything accomplished will require that people get together with the common objective of ending San Francisco’s public transit crisis and bringing Muni up to standard.
  2. Muni drivers should be encouraged to participate actively in the discussion of how best to fix Muni.  Accountability, reasonable work rules and good performance are essential.   At the same time it should be recognized that Muni’s drivers have difficult jobs and important responsibilities that warrant both good pay and proper respect…from both Muni riders and SFMTA’s Management.
  3. Improve schedule adherence and communication with Muni drivers, and address operating, security, personnel and other problems by bringing back the roving inspectors.
  4. Increasing Average Speeds by instituting a program for increasing the current 24-hour average speed of Muni vehicles by at least 10% should commence immediately.

II.  Improving Muni Metro Service

  1. Speed up light rail service by eliminating signaling, loading, dispatching, traffic and other obstacles.
  2. Attract 35,000 new Muni Metro riders by doubling the peak-period carrying capacity of the Market Street subway.
  3. Support SFTMA efforts to expand and modernize its electronic monitoring and control capability.
  4. To reduce conflicts between automobiles and Muni vehicles, operate surface LRVs in 3-inch high transit-only medians wherever physically possible.

III.  Improving Bus Service

  1. Speed up bus service by eliminating traffic, traffic signaling, dispatching, and other obstacles.
  2. Speed up loading by using part-time sidewalk fare collectors at crowded stops during crowded times of the day and by ensuring that all replacement buses are of the low-floor type.
  3. Place commuter buses in rigorously enforced transit-only lanes between the hours of 6:30 a.m. and 9:30 a.m. on weekday mornings.
  4. To smooth out and speed up the flow of buses, widen the sidewalks at bus stops.
  5. To facilitate enforcement of traffic, bus lane and bicycle lane violations, mount video cameras on transit vehicles.

IV.  Improving Transit Vehicle Flow along Congested Streets

  1. Conduct test programs geared to improving the flow of transit vehicles on such heavily-traveled thoroughfares as Stockton Street, Columbus Avenue, San Bruno Avenue, Mission and Chestnut, including traffic calming techniques such as were used successfully on Market Street, including pre-empted signals, prohibited left turns and added right turn only movements.
  2. Return Third and Kearny between King and Columbus Avenue (and perhaps other streets as well) to two-way traffic.
  3. Convert Grant Avenue between Market Street and Broadway to a Transit Mall featuring frequent, short-turning, low- floor buses, preferably free to riders.  (Service vehicles allowed between 9:00 a.m. and noon on weekdays).

V.  Making it Easier to Ride Muni

  1. Comfort and Convenience.  At the SFMTA it is essential that there be a renewed emphasis on customer service.  This would apply to managers and other Muni employees as well as to drivers. Increased attention should be paid to keeping trains, buses, bus stops and stations attractive, clean, graffiti-free, well maintained and safe at all times.   Rigorous discipline and enforcement is part and parcel of such a program.
  2. Loading and Passenger On-Board Distribution.  To increase passenger comfort and transit vehicle carrying capacity, a greater emphasis should be placed on getting riders to move to the back of the bus.  Such a program would necessarily involve rear door loaders at certain locations during commute periods as well as good signage, diligence on the part of Muni drivers and an effective PA system.  Rider groups, neighborhood and civic organizations and business groups should be asked to provide volunteers willing to assist with loading and in helping to improve rider distribution on Muni vehicles.
  3. Seats for Seniors.  Additional steps should be taken to ensure that the seats designated for seniors, disabled passengers and children are available when needed.  This program should include the use of volunteer attendants to remind people as well as the occasional citing of offenders.
  4. Aids to Understanding Muni.  Muni maps should be posted inside Muni vehicles.  Up-to-date individual route maps and schedules should be available at all times.   A one-page up-to-date chart of Muni routes showing hours of service and frequencies during different times of the day should be readily available to all Muni riders.
  5. Raised Muni logo signs and “Next-Bus” monitoring screens should be clearly visible at every transit stop.
  6. Consideration should be given to bringing back the upholstered seats so people can read while riding Muni.

VI.  Muni Vehicles

  1. To ensure that LRV’s, cable cars and buses are replaced in a timely manner, a vehicle replacement sinking fund should be established and permanently maintained at an appropriate level.
  2. To ensure that adequate spare parts are available at all times, the current Muni funding priorities should be changed as necessary.  In general a much greater priority should be given to Muni’s maintenance needs.

VII.  Developing the Necessary Revenue

  1. Expand the proof-of-payment system and get serious about citing fare evaders.
  2. Support the SFMTA’s program for expanding parking meter coverage, fee levels and hours of parking meter operation.  Set meter rates in City Garages and parking taxes in privately operated garages as required to moderate traffic congestion and provide an adequate supplemental funding source for Muni. Raise neighborhood parking sticker fees to $10 a month.
  3. In congested parts of the city, implement congestion pricing combined with Muni service improvements.
  4. Call a two-year moratorium on Muni fare and traffic fine increases.
  5. Demand that the State of California immediately reinstate the excise tax on automobiles as a source of desperately needed transit operating funds.
  6. Defer the Central Subway Project.  Allocate the local and State share of the Central Subway budget to addressing Muni’s backload of operating, maintenance and capital improvement needs.
  7. Allocate the federal New Starts share of the Central Subway budget to other qualifying San Francisco rail projects.

VIII.  Getting it Done

  1. As recommended by the Supervisor’s Budget Analyst, conduct outside financial and management audits of the SFMTA.
  2. Bring in a team of independent outside experts to help the SFMTA determine its long term goals, identify cost-cutting opportunities, develop new revenue sources, establish capital priorities and ensure that all capital, operating and maintenance funding is put to optimal use.
  3. Make maintaining and improving Muni’s 70 existing lines the top priority.
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