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Muni’s on-time performance heading in the wrong direction

Where’s my driver? Unscheduled absences rose to 10.6 percent in August compared to 9.4 percent in July. (Photo by flickr user Saito S.)

Muni’s latest numbers service performance is not looking well. During the past seven months, on-time performance hovered around 60 percent, but August showed that Muni was only 57.2 percent on time.

The new figures by the Municipal Transportation Agency is part of the new performance metrics that debuted on Friday at the transit’s agency’s policy committee. Previous on-time performance figures have been questionable. The Bay Citizen reported that the transit agency had been inflating performance numbers during the past decade.

The new metric will look at on-time performance every month instead of quarterly (three months), and will include all Muni lines instead of a random sampling of Muni lines.

Muni spokesman Paul Rose said absent drivers, old Muni vehicles and an operator shortage contributed to Muni’s poor performance in the month of August. Special events such as the America’s Cup and San Francisco Giants and 49ers games were also the culprit in the low on time number. Some events were held on the same weekend, Rose said.

Unscheduled absences rose to 10.6 percent in August compared to 9.4 percent in July. John Haley, director of Muni operations, said some drivers called in sick because they were denied to take any vacation leave because of a continued operator shortage at the transit agency.

Other new performance measures that Muni officials will focus on include the bunching and gaps of Muni vehicles and percentage of on time departures from terminals.

September is not looking so great either. Rose said on-time performance for this month so far is around 58 percent.

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Posted by on September 17, 2012 in MUNI, SFMTA

 

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Muni’s all-door boarding plan sees modest improvements in waiting times

Five of Muni’s busiest routes have seen a decrease in the time spent loading passengers at bus stops since the transit agency’s all-door boarding policy went into effect in July. Photo by Jason Winshell/SF Public Press

Published August 13, 2012
San Francisco Public Press

Muni’s all-door boarding policy that went into effect July 1 appears to be working – although riders on at least one line are complaining about everyone not lining up at the front.

A transit agency report found that passengers spent less time waiting at bus stops for riders to board while use of the back door became more frequent. The agency timed bus loading at stops with 10 or more passengers waiting to board.

The preliminary report highlights the 1-California, 1AX- California, 14-Mission, 38-Geary and 49-Van Ness /Mission routes.

The 1-California saw an average decline of about six seconds at bus stops that had 10 or more passengers boarding. If this were to hold true for at least 20 of the 1-California’s bus stops east of Van Ness Avenue, riders could save as much as two minutes of traveling time from home to work, said Muni spokesman Paul Rose.

The 1-California saw a 116 percent increase in riders using the back door compared to the same time last year when it was illegal for passengers to board the back of Muni buses.

Roughly 10 percent of riders would board the back of the bus last year, but now up to 40 percent are using the back doors, Rose said.

The 1AX-California, an express bus from the Richmond District to downtown, saw a whopping 1,186 percent increase of riders using the back door. Traditionally, express bus riders lined up at the bus stops to board the front door, but the new policy has changed all that.

Riders on the 1AX have complained to Muni that queuing in front of the bus has become more difficult now that riders are able to board at the back of the bus. Those who wait in the line at the front of the bus are finding that seats are full by the time they board.

The 1AX saw a six second decrease in boarding times at two of its stops in the downtown area.

The 14 and 49 Muni lines saw little change in boarding times, but did see increases in riders boarding through back of the bus.

The 38-Geary, which has a weekday average ridership of 25,000, saved more than a minute during the commute home.

“When we look at situations where large numbers of passengers are boarding a vehicle, the preliminary numbers suggest that the policy is working,” Rose said.

Muni has received 58 complaints since the new policy went into effect. More than half of the complaints were about drivers not opening the back doors. Most of the rest were from express bus riders.

Muni officials plan to also look at revenue and entire route times of its buses as more information becomes available. They have claimed that the all-boarding policy could generate more revenue for the transit agency.

Average time saved at bus stops with 10 more passengers

1-California: 6.2 seconds

1AX-California: 6.2 seconds

38-Geary: 4 second

14-Mission: 0.4 seconds

49-Van Ness/Mission: 0.2 seconds

 
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Posted by on August 13, 2012 in MUNI

 

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Man struck by Muni train dies

Muni stations were closed for several hours on Monday to investigate a train that hit a man in the late morning at the Civic Center station platform. Photo by Jerold Chinn.

Update 04/25/11:
The SF Examiner reports that the man hit by a Muni train was identified as Daniel Dillen of San Francisco. He was 62. It’s still unclear how Dillen made contact with the train at Civic Center station late Monday morning.

Original Post:
A man in a wheelchair has died after being struck by a Muni light-rail vehicle at the Civic Center station around 11:30 a.m. Monday. The man, possibly in his 50s or 60s, died at the hospital after suffering severe injuries to his left, according to Muni spokesman Paul Rose.

Muni service was shut down for at least two hours between West Portal and Embarcadero stations while the San Francisco Police Department and Muni officials investigated at the scene of the accident. There’s still no word yet on how the man was hit by the Muni train.

Rose said they will be reviewing video surveillance on the station platform and on the Muni vehicle that struck the man to find out what happened. The police department will be working jointly with the transit agency on the investigation, according to the SF Examiner.

 
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Posted by on April 23, 2012 in MUNI

 

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Muni chief proposes ‘significant reduction’ in overtime spending

A Muni train is packed during the evening commute. Photo by Jerold Chinn.

Overtime spending continues to be a problem at the city’s transit agency, but its director of transportation Ed Reiskin said he is proposing a “significant reduction” for the next fiscal year, which begins on July 1.

A report last week by the city’s controller’s office projects the transit agency to spend $60 million in overtime, $28.6 million more than what was originally budgeted for the current fiscal year. During the first six months of the current fiscal year, 113 transit employees have surpassed the allotted 520 annual overtime hours.

Reiskin said he is proposing in the new budget to spend $42 million in overtime – $18 million less than what the agency is projected to spend this year.

The agency spokesman Paul Rose said the reasons why overtime is high is because of staffing shortages, special events and the use of shuttle buses during transit system failures because of deferred maintenance. Rose said that transit drivers make up of 47 percent of overtime usage.

“In order for us to deliver the transit service – we have to have people in the seats or in the station agent booths or supervisors in place so we can’t just not fill those positions. So the extent we have an open place we need to bring someone on overtime to fill it.” said Reiskin.

In December last year, transit officials outlined plans to curb overtime during a San Francisco supervisors government audits and oversight committee. The plans included developing a policy to better manage overtime, budgeting overtime based on service and special events and seeking recovery costs for overtime for special events.

“We are looking at some ways that we deploy our staff to figure out if we can do it more efficiently and effectively so we can reduce the need for overtime.” said Reiskin.

The agency also plans on hiring and training new and part-time drivers to deal with the staffing shortages. The Bay Citizen reports that the transit agency has already 67 part-time drivers in place.

“As we move forward with new plans, we anticipate the use of less overtime,” said Rose.

The transit agency is currently trying to balance its books. The MTA faces a $53 million budget for the next two years.

SFMTA overtime:
2008-2009: $44.2 million
2009-2010: $47.9 million
2010-2011: $54.3 million
2011-2012: $60.6 million (projection)
Source: San Francisco Controller’s Office

 
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Posted by on March 16, 2012 in MUNI, S.F. Board of Supervisors, SFMTA

 

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Muni operators deserve payout from settlement, says Mayor Lee

Published 12/14/11 San Francisco Public Press

San Francisco transit workers got an unexpected holiday bonus, of sorts, after winning back a contested $8 million in health care payouts that the city initially refused to give because it was trying to cut its 2011 budget.

Mayor Ed Lee said Tuesday that he agreed with the decision by the  San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency to relinquish the funds to the Transport Workers Union 250-A.

The union, which represents Muni operators, sued the transit agency for $8 million earlier this year for not disbursing a special health trust fund. The transit agency withheld the payment traditionally given at the end of the year after intense labor negotiations, saying it faced a budget shortfall for the 2010-2011 fiscal year.

Lee said the payment did “raise my eyebrows,” but he agreed that the payout was needed. “We owe that money, and while we won’t have to make a similar payment in the future, this one was already, as they say, on the books.”

The fund was set up to help compensate Muni operators for health care benefits because they received fewer benefits than other city employees.

But Supervisor Scott Wiener objected to the payout at the mayor’s monthly appearance before the Board of Supervisors Tuesday. Wiener said the payment was “contrary of the spirit and goals” of Proposition G of 2010, which allowed the agency to abolish the yearly payouts to Muni operators. But the last labor contract ended June 30, which, the union contended, entitled the workers to one last year-end payout in 2011.

Lee said Proposition G would lead to improvements in the system. He said the transit agency is making progress implementing the new labor contract by hiring part-time drivers and making schedule changes.

“I feel confident that the voters will see benefits of Prop. G starting this year and going forward,” Lee said. “In the future I’m looking for a renewed commitment to push forward work-order reform and other efficiency savings that we’re now allowed to do under Prop. G.”

Muni spokesman Paul Rose said the agency the initiative would save the city $13.7 million a year just on labor costs. Some of the savings have yet to materialize, such the hiring of part-time drivers.

Since June, the transit agency has already racked up a $28 million budget deficit for the current fiscal year, and its finance office now projects an $80 million budget for the next two years.

 
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Posted by on December 16, 2011 in Mayor's Office, MUNI, SFMTA

 

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