Riders will start seeing new buses on San Francisco streets this week after city and transit officials unveiled Muni’s new fleet of hybrid buses near Pier 48. The 62 new biodiesel-electric hybrid buses will help replace Muni’s aging fleet of motor coaches, which have been service for more than…
Tag Archives: public transportation
Muni riders seem to be getting used to the all-door boarding policy. More and more riders are boarding the back of the buses since the implementation of the policy six months ago, which means less time waiting at bus stops during boarding times.
The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency says 51 percent of passengers are now boarding the back of the bus. The transit agency surveyed bus stops with at least passengers boarding. It looked at bus routes from its express/shuttle, rapid, community and local, which all showed an increase in rear door boardings.
A six-month report from the transit agency also says that dwell times at bus stops during boardings have decreased because of the increase of rear door boardings. As much as four seconds were saved per stop at bus stops with at least 10 passengers boarding. As many riders know, every second counts when it comes to getting somewhere on time.
Majority of complaints about the policy are mostly related to drivers not opening the back doors, and express riders are still not fond of the policy. Overall, complaints are down since the policy went into effect in July last year.
Muni says the fare evasion rate is down from 4.6 percent (July 2011 through Jan. 2012) to 3.5 percent (July 2012 through Jan. 2013). Muni ramped up its enforcement last year by hiring 11 transit fare inspectors to ensure riders that they will be checked for proof of payment at anytime, on any bus.
Fare inspectors handed out 40,262 citations to riders without proof of payment between July 2012 through Jan. 2013, which is an 87 percent increase (21,476 citations) between July 2011 through Jan. 2012.
The transit agency says it will perform a more comprehensive report, which will include running times for selected routes, a citation and enforcement update and a look at revenue.
Drivers who think they will not get caught driving in a transit-only lanes in San Francisco might want to avoid driving or parking in front of a Muni bus.
The city’s Municipal Transportation Agency reports that its agents wrote 3,052 citations in 2011 to drivers who travelled in dedicated bus lanes in the Financial District and Chinatown thanks in part to cameras mounted on 30 Muni buses. The year before, agents wrote 2,102 citations.
Since it worked so well for two years, Muni plans to add 300 more cameras in the summer of next. The goal is to eventually have them on the entire 1,000-plus bus fleet.
John Haley, director of Muni operations, said the pilot program, launched in 2008, was a success. The cameras, which are placed forward-facing on Muni buses, images cars either parking or driving in transit-only lanes. Two parking control officers review the footage to identify license plates and write the citations.
Fines range from $60 for driving in transit lanes to $105 for parking in them. The increase in citations generated about $314,000 in 2011.
The transit agency plans to expand the transit-only lane network, separating the car and bus lanes on Mission and 16th streets, in 2014. That was one recommendation from the Transit Effectiveness Project, a plan to speed up some of Muni’s busiest transit corridors.
Citations written in the last three years (and revenue generated):
2009 — 1,311 ($186,742)
2010 — 2,102 ($219,254)
2011 — 3,052 ($314,385)
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.
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.
Published April 18, 2012
San Francisco Public Press
Drivers who plan to spend a day in the city on Sundays should remember to bring their change to pay the parking meter.
San Francisco’s transportation agency approved its two-year budget Tuesday, which includes making motorists pay at parking meters on Sundays, handing out free Fast Passes to low-income youth and funding for more maintenance on Muni.
The Municipal Transportation Agency, which faced a projected $19.6 million deficit for 2012-2013 and $33.6 million deficit for the following fiscal year, needed to generate new revenue sources, even after cutting management and overtime costs.
Despite opposition from San Francisco churches, the agency decided to start enforcing parking meters on Sunday from noon to 6 p.m. to raise more money. The transit agency expected to get $1.9 million annually ($900,000 in the first year) from Sunday parking meter enforcement.
Director of Transportation Ed Reiskin said it was time to “modernize antiquated parking policies.” He said parking meter enforcement would free up spaces in commercial neighborhoods where parking spots can be hard to find because of drivers who park all day.
“There are some gaps in how we’re currently managing parking,” Reiskin said. The transit agency will also be adding 500 to 1,000 parking meters throughout the city.
Religious leaders complained that the Sunday parking meter enforcement would have serious impacts on their Sunday services.
Rev. Karen Oliveto of Glide Memorial Church said Sunday parking enforcement would be a “logistical nightmare.”
“If we had to worry about time constraints for our celebrations and programs so people can get to and from their cars due to meter enforcement, the entire essence of Glide would be jeopardized,” Oliveto said.
David Barnes, director of family ministries at the Calvary Presbyterian Church, said he was disappointed by the decision, and that the board had made up its mind despite the opposition.
“I’m honestly wondering how many budget shortfalls Muni experiences before they push for meters from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.,” Barnes said. “The storm window is open.”
The transit agency’s operating budget of $816.4 million for the 2012-2013 fiscal year, which begins on July 1, also includes funding for implementing all-door boarding and more maintenance for the Muni system.
Sunday parking meter enforcement will begin Jan. 1, 2013.
Free Muni for low-income youth
Board members finally decided to give free Muni Fast Passes for the city’s low-income youth ages 5 to 17, as a 22-month pilot project that begins in August.
Transit officials have been debating whether or not to give Fast Passes to all youth, but did not like the funding choices for an all-youth program.
Reiskin presented the board with an alternative budget that would fund an all-youth program, which would create a $6.7 million gap in funding. To fill the gap, Reiskin said he would take $3.8 million from the maintenance budget for Muni buses and $2.8 million from capital funds set aside for transit projects in low-income neighborhoods and bicycle and pedestrian projects.
That was enough to sway some board members, like Joel Ramos, who voted last week in favor of a free Fast Pass all youth program, to change their minds.
“It’s clear now, however, that the funding mechanisms would lead to toward taking out of maintenance and operations, which we have never ever been supported of,” Ramos said.
Free-Muni-for-all-youth backers said taking funds out of the maintenance was a last-minute move to get the board to not approve an all-youth plan.
“What’s frustrating, to be honest with you, is the issue of how much this would cost and what is implicated seems to be a shifting target,” said Supervisor David Campos, who has been leading the free Muni drive.
Campos said maintenance wasn’t brought up until a few days ago and was never mention to the city’s budget analyst.
Board members still need hash out details on how the program will work and who will qualify for a free Fast Pass.
The need for free public transportation comes at a time when the San Francisco Unified School District plans to reduce yellow school bus service because of budget constraints. City officials say they are also trying to keep families in the city.
The transit agency’s budget still needs the approval from the San Francisco Board of Supervisors before any of initiatives go into effect.
Budget includes no cuts in Muni service
Though the newly approved budget does not include Muni service cuts, transit officials still have to solve the projected budget deficit of $29 million for the current fiscal year.
To close that gap, the transit agency has cut 35 to 40 bus runs a day, said John Haley, transit director of Muni operations. The transit agency will not fill those runs with overtime drivers.
The current fiscal year ends June 30, when transit officials hope to bring back those runs.