SF’s Muni OKs fare increases — Supervisor Aaron Peskin vows to stop them

By Phil Matier : sfchronicle – excerpt

The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency’s vote to raise the cost of Muni monthly passes — one of them will top $100 for the first time — in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic has set off a behind-the-scenes firestorm. One supervisor is even threatening a November charter amendment to strip the agency of its power to raise fares without the Board of Supervisors’ approval.

“The message is: over our dead bodies,” Supervisor Aaron Peskin said…

“Have they lost their minds?” Peskin said. “This is not the time to be raising fares.”…

Peskin has asked the city attorney to draw up a charter amendment for the November ballot. If voters pass it, the measure would require two-thirds votes by the supervisors to approve any Muni fare increases, including the hikes just approved.

The amendment would be a sharp reversal of Proposition A, a Muni reform measure Peskin wrote and helped pass in 2007. Prop. A aimed to depoliticize transit policy by removing the Board of Supervisors’ influence on Muni service and fare decisions.

“I made a mistake, and now I’m going to try to fix it surgically,” Peskin said.“It’s time to stop this merry-go-round.”…(more)

Here we go again. This time maybe we will get the support from the Board of Supervisors to fix the Muni, or at least improve the process for fixing it by taking away the some more of the power of the Board of Directors. Matt Haney did a little pushback this week by refusing to approve the reappointment of a Director prior to meeting with her. It is not business as usual at City Hall.

The SFMTA needs to reconsider its fare increase

By Pi Ra : sfexaminer – excerpt

Experience from the last recession shows increased fares reduce ridership, lead to service cuts

An open letter to the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Board:

We at Senor and Disability Action (SDA) are truly appreciative of the SFMTA’s efforts to keep service running for essential workers and other San Franciscans who need transit to bring home their groceries and go to medical appointments. As seniors and people with disabilities, we often rely on these very essential caregivers ourselves and thank Muni for providing the means for them to reach us. Your thoughtful efforts are made evident with your quick response to the community feedback on the reduction of Muni services. For example, the SFMTA quickly restored some critical service routes and created the Essential Trip Card Program.

At the same time, we are quite perplexed on why the SFMTA would now decide to increase Muni fares during this time of COVID-19 health and economic crisis. This decision will have a long-term negative impact on our minority and low-income communities. And furthermore, it will not produce the desired revenues to help keep Muni running effectively.

Unknown Variables

SDA likes sound transportation decisions based on known facts and not unfounded guesses and questionable assumptions. In this case, the SFMTA made some questionable predictions regarding the unknowns of the COVID-19 crisis.…(more)

MTC releases plan to distribute $780M in federal funds to transit agencies

By Bay City News Service : danvillesanramon – excerpt

Locally, includes $251.6M for BART, $7M for County Connection

The Metropolitan Transportation Commission on Thursday released a framework for allocating more than $780 million of federal relief funds to Bay Area transit agencies that have been hit hard by dramatic ridership drops due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The MTC, which is the transportation planning, financing and coordinating agency for the nine-county Bay Area, said it developed the proposed allocations through a partnership with transit agency staff members… (more)

Cost of monthly Muni pass to exceed $100 as fares rise

By Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez :sfexaminer – excerpt
SFMTA board approves budget designed to increase revenue, avoid service cuts

A monthly Muni pass will soon cost more than $100 as part of across the board fare increases approved Tuesday for nearly everyone except those paying in cash.

The fare increases, part of the agency’s newly approved budget, were opposed by groups including the Board of Supervisors, City College of San Francisco students, and a coalition of 24 San Francisco organizations including Jobs with Justice San Francisco, Senior and Disability Action, South of Market Community Action Network, Housing Rights Committee San Francisco, Mission Housing, the Coalition on Homelessness, and more.

“The income inequality we see every day in San Francisco has only been exacerbated by COVID-19,” the coalition of organizations wrote in a joint letter to transit officials. “The necessity of an equitable fare policy becomes even more apparent in the wake of this pandemic, and the last thing that we need right now is fare increases.”… (more)

Will this move by the SFMTA Board that got goes against the public will and the Board of Supervisors unanimous agreement, bring about some unintended consequences for the agency that is losing all credibility with its clientele? The one voice in favor of transit balance is leaving the board and is expected to be replaced by a less equitable party. This could lead to a faster shift in priorities from a transportation agency into a market rate project development and employment agency. This raises the question: Who is the city of San Francisco “building for”?

Not only have the Planning Department and Commission lost control of their stated goals of keeping San Francisco affordable for all, the SFMTA that is supposed to be the public transit agency, is abandoning its priority roll of being the last resort of transit for all. Is this another message to the poor and vulnerable to “get out of town” before we run you out?

Will the Board of Supervisors finally consider voting against the SFMTA budget this year until it is amended, or will they take a more radical approach and put a Charter Amendment on the ballot for November allowing the voters to take a more powerful position in determining how the public service agency is run? And will the Board of Supervisors support their own Charter Amendment this time?

CORONAVIRUS: CLEANLINESS + TIPS

CORONAVIRUS: COMPULSIVE CLEANING & TIPS

Hello Everyone: The more one learns about Coronavirus, the more obsessive (and paranoid) one becomes. Compulsive cleaning and disinfecting seems more and more logical—especially as we hear of outbreaks in entire families, church choirs, cruise ships and Congress. Invading through the nose/ mouth/ eyes, Covid-19 stabs into your lungs’ air sacs, multiplying and thickening their one-cell thick walls to stop oxygen transfer. New reports indicate that other organs are attacked too. Stay-at-Home and Stay Safe. Best, Howard Wong, AIA

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KHON TV: How to properly disinfect surfaces to prevent spreading coronavirus

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZgIMA5TVEoE

MSNBC: Many common household cleaning products can kill the coronavirus if you use them properly

https://www.nbcnews.com/better/lifestyle/many-common-household-cleaning-products-can-kill-coronavirus-if-you-ncna1160271

WIRED: How to Clean and Disinfect Yourself, Your Home, and Your Stuff

https://www.wired.com/story/coronavirus-disinfectant-cleaning-guide/

Note: Face Mask guidelines are in flux. In Asia, simple cloth masks and surgical (non-N95) face masks have been common for years—just for protection from catching/ spreading common colds.

NBC TV: Grocery Shopping Tips During the Coronavirus Pandemic https://www.nbcbayarea.com/news/coronavirus/grocery-shopping-tips-during-the-coronavirus-pandemic/2263007/

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SCARY GROCERIES: HOW TO SAFELY MANAGE GROCERIES DELIVERED TO YOU

Great video by a doctor in Michigan—more like an operating room approach but worth considering tips.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sjDuwc9KBps&=&feature=youtu.be

HIGHLIGHTS: Better safe than sorry and not taking any chances.

Assume viruses stay on grocery surfaces for 3 days. Leave nonperishable groceries outside for 3 days (garage, porch, deck, entryway…) to increase chances of ridding virus. Use gloves to bring the groceries into your home. Delivered groceries should be left outside by delivery person—for you to manage safely.

CONTAINERS

All unnecessary external packaging should be discarded. For bagged produce, if two people are available, one person can open the refrigerator’s crisper and the other can dump in the vegetables, disposing of the bag. Items like bread can be placed in sterile storage containers. Coronavirus can live on cardboard for 24 hours, but no human hands have touched interior packaging, e.g. remove cereal bag and throw away the box itself. If you’re buying groceries for someone else, consider removing the groceries from their external containers and putting them in a cloth bag. For items whose container can’t be removed, sanitize the groceries first and then put them into the bag.

STERILE TECHNIQUE

Dr. VanWingen recommends applying a method called sterile technique — used by health-care professionals to prevent the spread of infection within a hospital — to sterilize food. Before bringing groceries inside, designate a clean side and a dirty side of a table, sanitizing the clean half with any standard disinfectant. Then place the groceries on the dirty side of the table.

“Imagine that the groceries that you have are covered with some glitter, and your goal at the end of this is to not have any glitter in your house, on your hands, or especially on your face,” he says.

Using a sanitizing towel, he says to “make sure your rag is good and saturated with disinfectant” and start wiping everything down. More hard plastic things, like medication bottles, can be sprayed directly and then wiped down. “Now, you wanna wipe off the areas that you think humans’ hands were touching a bit more liberally than the areas that you don’t think human hands have touched,” he says. FRUIT: Wash like you would wash your hands — for 20 seconds per piece of fruit, in soapy water.

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MOVIE CLIP: “Outbreak” (1995)—The Virus is Airborne Scene https://video.search.yahoo.com/search/video?fr=mcafee&p=movie+scene+in+outbreak+%22it%27s+airborne%22#id=1&vid=432e9e10ac91fca92d0c4bf80b8d2bb7&action=click

MOVIE TRAILER: “Contagion” (2011) https://video.search.yahoo.com/search/video;_ylt=Awr9Ilfq4odeZ.UA6SZXNyoA;_ylu=X3oDMTByNWU4cGh1BGNvbG8DZ3ExBHBvcwMxBHZ0aWQDBHNlYwNzYw–?p=from+contagion&fr=mcafee#id=2&vid=f0d174d5f4c7b8efc6f2a3072097b349&action=view

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VIROLOGIST EXPERT ADVICE: CORONAVIRUS PRECAUTIONS

James Robb, MD UC San Diego, is a virologist who’s worked with COVID for almost 50 years. Robb predicts the next 2-weeks will be significant. Feel free to copy and send to family & friends his advice about what he is doing for the upcoming COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic:

“Dear Colleagues, as some of you may recall, when I was a professor of pathology at the University of California San Diego, I was one of the first molecular virologists in the world to work on coronaviruses (the 1970s). I was the first to demonstrate the number of genes the virus contained. Since then, I have kept up with the coronavirus field and its multiple clinical transfers into the human population (e.g., SARS, MERS), from different animal sources. The current projections for its expansion in the US are only probable, due to continued insufficient worldwide data, but it is most likely to be widespread in the US by mid to late March and April.

“Here is what I have done and the precautions that I take and will take. These are the same precautions I currently use during our influenza seasons, except for the mask and gloves.:

1) NO HANDSHAKING! Use a fist bump, slight bow, elbow bump, etc.

2) Use ONLY your knuckle to touch light switches. elevator buttons, etc.. Lift the gasoline dispenser with a paper towel or use a disposable glove.

3) Open doors with your closed fist or hip – do not grasp the handle with your hand, unless there is no other way to open the door. Especially important on bathroom and post office/commercial doors.

4) Use disinfectant wipes at the stores when they are available, including wiping the handle and child seat in grocery carts.

5) Wash your hands with soap for 10-20 seconds and/or use a greater than 60% alcohol-based hand sanitizer whenever you return home from ANY activity that involves locations where other people have been.

6) Keep a bottle of sanitizer available at each of your home’s entrances. AND in your car for use after getting gas or touching other contaminated objects when you can’t immediately wash your hands.

7) If possible, cough or sneeze into a disposable tissue and discard. Use your elbow only if you have to. The clothing on your elbow will contain infectious virus that can be passed on for up to a week or more!

“What I have stocked in preparation for the pandemic spread to the US:

1) Latex or nitrile latex disposable gloves for use when going shopping, using the gasoline pump, and all other outside activity when you come in contact with contaminated areas. Note: This virus is spread in large droplets by coughing and sneezing. This means that the air will not infect you! BUT all the surfaces where these droplets land are infectious for about a week on average – everything that is associated with infected people will be contaminated and potentially infectious. The virus is on surfaces and you will not be infected unless your unprotected face is directly coughed or sneezed upon. This virus only has cell receptors for lung cells (it only infects your lungs) The only way for the virus to infect you is through your nose or mouth via your hands or an infected cough or sneeze onto or into your nose or mouth.

2) Stock up now with disposable surgical masks and use them to prevent you from touching your nose and/or mouth (We touch our nose/mouth 90X/day without knowing it!). This is the only way this virus can infect you – it is lung-specific. The mask will not prevent the virus in a direct sneeze from getting into your nose or mouth – it is only to keep you from touching your nose or mouth.

3) Stock up now with hand sanitizers and latex/nitrile gloves (get the appropriate sizes for your family). The hand sanitizers must be alcohol-based and greater than 60% alcohol to be effective.

4) Stock up now with zinc lozenges. These lozenges have been proven to be effective in blocking coronavirus (and most other viruses) from multiplying in your throat and nasopharynx. Use as directed several times each day when you begin to feel ANY “cold-like” symptoms beginning. It is best to lie down and let the lozenge dissolve in the back of your throat and nasopharynx. Cold-Eeze lozenges is one brand available, but there are other brands available. ‘

“I, as many others do, hope that this pandemic will be reasonably contained, BUT I personally do not think it will be. Humans have never seen this snake-associated virus before and have no internal defense against it. Tremendous worldwide efforts are being made to understand the molecular and clinical virology of this virus. Unbelievable molecular knowledge about the genomics, structure, and virulence of this virus has already been achieved. BUT, there will be NO drugs or vaccines available this year to protect us or limit the infection within us. Only symptomatic support is available.

“I hope these personal thoughts will be helpful during this potentially catastrophic pandemic. You are welcome to share this email. Good luck to all of us! Jim James Robb, MD”

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PBS VIDEO: What This Chart Actually Means for COVID-19 https://www.pbs.org/video/what-this-chart-actually-means-for-covid-19-ybsbtd/

THIS WEEK IN ASIA: Why are there so few coronavirus infections in Singapore’s health workers? https://www.scmp.com/week-asia/health-environment/article/3077345/coronavirus-why-so-few-infections-singapores-health

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ECONOMIST: “Lessons from Spanish Flu”—Data from the 1918 pandemic in America suggest that places with the tightest restrictions fared best in increases in manufacturing employment.

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HEALTH TIPS

HUFFPOST: Can Coronavirus Live On Shoes And Be Brought Into Our Homes? https://www.huffpost.com/entry/coronavirus-on-shoes-brought-into-homes_l_5e7a5843c5b6f5b7c54c3786

MODERN SURVIVAL GUIDE: Bleach Water Ratio For Disinfecting: Make Your Own Disinfectant https://modernsurvivalblog.com/health/disinfectant-bleach-water-ratio/

RUSH MEDICAL: 8 Tips for Healthy Lungs https://www.rush.edu/health-wellness/discover-health/8-tips-healthy-lungs

GUARDIAN: Do breathing exercises really work? UK doctors on how to protect against coronavirus – and manage symptoms https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2020/apr/08/from-vitamin-c-to-breathing-exercises-doctors-on-what-you-should-really-do-for-your-health-right-now

HEALTHLINE: 15 Foods Boost Immune System https://www.healthline.com/health/food-nutrition/foods-that-boost-the-immune-system

AMAZING SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY
Science fiction is closer to reality than ever before. At no time in human history have global collaborative innovations, shared often in real time, been poised to mitigate and cure disease, and transform life. The community of scientists and technocrats have become a global unifying force, with more societal value than traditional political institutions. Human intelligence and intellect, in concert, is boundless.

PUBLIC PRESS: Startups/Testing https://sfpublicpress.org/news/2020-04/bay-area-startups-push-to-ramp-up-californias-covid-19-testing-efforts

TED VIDEO: How CRISPR lets us edit our DNA :https//www.ted.com/talks/jennifer_doudna_how_crispr_lets_us_edit_our_dna

GENETIC LITERACY PROJECT: Fighting the coronavirus outbreak with genetic sequencing, CRISPR & synthetic biology https://geneticliteracyproject.org/2020/03/10/fighting-the-coronavirus-outbreak-with-genetic-sequencing-crispr-and-synthetic-biology/

WIRED: Could Crispr Be Humanity’s Next Virus Killer? https://www.wired.com/story/could-crispr-be-the-next-virus-killer/

VIDEO: ‘Stay safe, Detroit’ video empowers city amid pandemic https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JJzlXhXrD7I

STOPPING SPREAD = Early Diagnosis + Tracking + Isolation + Treatment

PREVENTION = Universal Masking + Hand Hygiene + Social-Distancing

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We stay here for you. Please stay home for us.”

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Mayor names trans woman to SFMTA board

by Cynthia Laird :ebar – excerpt

ayor London Breed on Thursday appointed Jane Natoli to a seat on the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency board of directors, making her the first out trans person to serve in that capacity.

Natoli, 39, had run for a seat on the San Francisco Democratic County Central Committee in March but came up short in that effort.

SFMTA is a city department that’s responsible for all ground transportation. It has oversight of Muni, as well as bicycling, paratransit, parking, traffic, walking, and taxis. It is led by Jeffrey Tumlin, a gay man hired by Breed in November.

In a statement to the Bay Area Reporter, the mayor said Natoli would be an effective director… (more)

“Natoli is a financial crimes analyst at tech company Stripe, and previously was a financial crimes consultant at Wells Fargo bank. She also ran an unsuccessful campaign this March to join the San Francisco Democratic Party board, garnering 14,894 votes in the state’s 19th Assembly District, which encompasses roughly half of San Francisco.” – Joe Fittzgerald Rodriguez : sfexaminer



Tumlin Talks Post-COVID Muni

: streetsblog – excerpt

Everything has changed with the pandemic. But with crisis comes opportunity

It was only a couple of months ago that SFMTA Director Jeffrey Tumlin sat down with Manny Yekutiel of Manny’s in the Mission, San Francisco’s Valencia Street events space, to discuss protected bike lanes and improved bus service. But, as Tumlin expressed during a second Q&A with Manny, held virtually yesterday/Wednesday evening, that may as well have been 100 years ago. With the COVID-19 lockdown now in its fourth week, everything has changed. Muni has suspended train service. It has eliminated all but 17 of its 83 bus routes. And it is no longer enforcing most parking regulations, to make it easier for people to shelter in place. The agency is also hemorrhaging money as ridership plummets and more and more operators call in sick.

Streetsblog wrote up this (edited) Q&A based on yesterday evening’s conversation…

Tumlin: We’re not committing to major new projects during this period because the health directive is preventing us, but also because we want to make sure we have proper community engagement. Right now we’re a service for the Department of Public Health (DPH). Our job is moving essential workers and serving as disaster service workers… and preparing for the lift of the shelter in place. What happens when things start to normalize? We can’t just flip a switch and go back to where we were a month ago.

Manny: You have the core routes. What lines would you bring back in first?

Tumlin: The most important next step is to provide enough capacity so our essential service passengers can maintain social distance. Our immediate work is expanding capacity on lines where we know there’s overcrowding. Then we need additional testing of operators, so we can stabilize our workforce. Then we know the next lines we want to bring back based on good data we have on where is the highest ridership, where we have people who depend the most on transit, and where are our institutions…

Stripping down Muni to bare essentials is giving us opportunities. For example, we have to ask: can we bring Muni service back in a way that is better than it was before? Much of the Muni system is based on the competition of franchises in 1912. Is that what San Francisco really needs in 2020? Should we ask the question: do we want more lines with less frequency, or do we want fewer lines with much more frequency? There isn’t a clear answer, but we have to ask the questions. [How about instead of holding buses to fixed schedules, we just have drivers maintain equal intervals between runs?] If we can make that work, it could significantly help transit reliability...(more)

We see some good ideas here. Listening to the drivers and the public instead of hired planners may provide a better approach that serves the public better.Allowing more AC Transit and Golden Gate stops and more private operators to close the gaps may also be a solution to better serving the public. Smaller faster buses more nimble vehicles that maneuver easier would help to maintain the speed. We need a return to seats for everyone so stop the order of those long buses with sideways seats.

SFMTA to Vote Next Week on Muni Fare Hike

by Michael Toren : sfweekly – excerpt
Supervisors urge SFMTA board to pause higher fares during COVID crisis.

Exactly one week before the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency is set to vote on a new Muni fare structure, the board of supervisors passed a resolution urging them to hold off on any rate increases.

“I had sincerely hoped this resolution would not be necessary,” Supervisor Dean Preston said at the supervisors’ meeting Tuesday, which took place virtually over Microsoft Teams. “I have for months been engaging with MTA staff on this but have not been able to secure a commitment to back off on fare increases.”

“Ultimately, the decision lies with the SFMTA board of directors, and SFMTA leadership,” Supervisor Ahsha Safaí said. “But I would say it is really difficult to see how any family during this crisis could afford a fare increase.”… (more)

Time to go back to hitchhiking? The cheapest method and it costs the public NOTHING.

Muni riders could request that the Board of Supervisors vote against the budget that includes fare increases until the Board agrees to eliminate the increases. We are in a time of turmoil. We might consider such a move is necessary at this time to force a change in power using the tools at hand and return the power to the people. Comments at the source are welcome.

Coronavirus: 6 SFMTA operators test positive for COVID-19, others quarantined

By Evan Webeck : mercurynews – excerpt

SF Muni has eliminated most bus routes and all rail service, but union leaders say that’s not enough

Since the first San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) employee tested positive for COVID-19 on March 25, the agency has slashed all but the bus lines deemed most essential and eliminated rail service altogether.

But the number of MTA employees to test positive for the respiratory illness has risen to 10, union leaders said, including six bus operators. More have been quarantined after showing symptoms or possibly being exposed but have not tested positive.

The agency isn’t moving fast enough to protect its employees on the frontlines, said Roger Marenco, president of the Transport Workers Union Local 250-A… (more)

Muni Core Service Plan Now in Effect

SFMTA Alert
Dear Subscriber,

You are receiving this email as a subscriber of an SFMTA project or alert. During this public health emergency, we want you to have as much information as possible when you need to make an essential trip on Muni.

Muni Core Service Plan Now in Effect

Muni service is undergoing dramatic changes in response to COVID-19. Many critical Muni staff including operators, mechanics, and car cleaners are more vulnerable to coronavirus due to their age or preexisting health conditions, so they are sheltering in place in accordance with the city’s order. This has made it difficult for us to fully staff all our routes.

Muni’s Core Service Plan now in place focuses SFMTA’s limited resources on providing service on our busiest lines with the highest demand during this crisis. Although we are running only about 20% of our transit lines (17 of 79 lines), last week those 17 lines carried approximately 80% of our passengers due to changing trip patterns. This core service is in support of essential trips that cannot be made in other ways. We are asking all San Franciscans to help us maintain adequate space on buses for social distancing by staying at home except for essential trips. Further, if you can take alternative transportation to Muni, please do.

Still need to travel on Muni? Check out the changes now in effect. Be sure to plan extra time for your trip which now may include transfers and a longer walk. Remember your fare is good for two hours across multiple buses.

Muni Core Service

  • View the COVID-19 Muni Core Service Plan for the 17 bus lines Muni is now running daily from approximately 5AM-10PM. Background on the changes can be found in our recent blog post.
  • Access a larger map of the Core Service which also displays regional transit connections and can be downloaded.
  • We are working with Third Party Transit Data Providers to ensure these changes are reflected in their trip planning apps. Please note that many of the arrival predictions will be unreliable for at least a few days.

Modifications to Specific Routes

  • Check out our Travel and Transit Updates for routes that have been modified as part of the Core Service Plan – either shortened, extended or updated to serve additional stops.

Updates to Late-Night Owl Service

Alternatives to Muni

  • Paratransit service continues to operate as normal so that customers can travel for essential needs. We ask riders to cancel any non-essential trips.
  • Use Shop-a-Round for low-cost shuttle or subsidized Taxi rides to/from the grocery store for registered seniors and people with disabilities. A customer does not have to be ADA-paratransit eligible to use the service.
  • Taxi services, including wheelchair accessible ramp taxis, continue to operate as an essential service. ​Individual taxi companies are following best practices to minimize the risks of transmission.
  • For Bikeshare and Scooter Share, please visit the websites and apps of the individual companies for whether they continue to operate and for information on availability during the COVID-19 shelter-in-place.

For more updates on all SFMTA services during this public health crisis, visit SFMTA.com/COVID19.