Transit operators ‘thrown under the bus’ in statewide vaccine distribution plan

By Carly Graf : sfexaminer – excerpt

Muni union leader says members are ‘disgusted’ at by move to de-prioritize them for protection

Transit operators have been vital to San Francisco’s survival during the pandemic.

Drivers from Muni, BART and other Bay Area transportation networks have carried seniors to healthcare appointments, low income families to food banks, and essential workers to workplaces that provide vital services such as grocery stores, pharmacies and restaurants.

They’ve also been there to provide support to unhoused residents, individuals with limited mobility and other vulnerable populations typically less able to use alternative transportation options.

Yet they’re no longer prioritized alongside other essential workers in the state’s latest COVID-19 vaccine distribution plan announced by Gov. Gavin Newsom earlier this week, which shifts from a sector-based system to an age-based system…(more)

This could explain why a lot of drivers are quitting.

Seamless Bay Area Explains Why MTC Doesn’t Work

By Roger Rudick : streetsblog – excerpt

When it comes to creating a rational fare structure and a more usable transportation system for the Bay Area, MTC an abject failure. Here’s why.

The Bay Area’s Metropolitan Transportation Commission was created in 1970 to build a coordinated transit system for the Bay Area.

As anyone who’s tried to use transit in the Bay Area knows well, it has failed completely. In a recently released paper, Seamless Bay Area’s Ian Griffiths explains the three main reasons why, and what can be about it:

From the Seamless paper, “Three reasons why MTC isn’t working as the Bay Area’s network manager“:…

The paper goes on to lay out the three main reasons the MTC has failed:

  • The mandates of dozens of other transit agencies and planning entities conflict with MTC’s mandate to coordinate.
  • MTC’s board composition results in policy shaped too heavily by local interests and not enough by shared regional interests.
  • MTC policies are shaped too heavily by boards and committees that don’t have enough relevant technical expertise and are insufficiently informed by best practices and professional experts… (more)

Bayview-Hunters Point residents get first direct express bus to downtown

By Carly Graf : sfexaminer – excerpt

New Muni route to launch alongside the return of the T-Third train

The T-Third train between Sunnydale and Embarcadero Station will be returning this Saturday — and it will be joined by a new express bus route that will serve the Bayview and Hunters Point communities.

For the first time, residents of Hunters Point will have a direct connection to downtown San Francisco, while neighbors in Bayview will enjoy their first express access into downtown via Third Street.

A downtown-bound 15 Bayview Hunters Point Express Line bus will run every 10 minutes from Palou and Third streets to Market and Third streets via Hunters Point, operating from 5 a.m. to 10 p.m. on weekdays and 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. on weekends…(more)

Will UCSF’s $20 million pledge to SFMTA offset traffic woes?

By Carly Graf : sfexaminer – excerpt

An even more crowded N-Judah plus increased congestion ahead cause concern

Some supervisors are questioning whether the $20 million University of California, San Francisco committed to investing in local transit as part of its proposed Parnassus campus expansion will be enough to counteract the project’s impact on traffic in nearby neighborhoods.

The payment to the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency is part of a larger community benefits package that Mayor London Breed hailed as “significant” when she announced the tentative agreement earlier this month.

But supervisors Dean Preston and Myrna Melgar, who represent the surrounding areas, are concerned the funding might not adequately address traffic impacts, with the project expected to bring nearly 7,900 new daily visitors and workers to the area over next 30 years…(more)

The construction truck traffic alone will make getting to and from the existing UC hospital nearly impossible regardless of how many buses or any other mass transit system are established and no, $20 million does not come close to the cost of building a new road or roads to access the construction site. Hopefully that costs will be born by the UC on top of the $20 million.

UC could not have picked a worse place to build a new hospital. Building a massive new hospital on a steep hill above a working hospital is not a good idea for number of reasons. This project is guaranteed to flush out most of the residents nearby and close all that is left of the businesses.

Why not build a new hospital in the south part of the city where a hospital is needed most? Access to the freeway and close proximity to the airport are logical arguments for building elsewhere, and thousands of new housing in the area is already in the pipeline. Some of it is even affordable.

SFMTA to purchase 30 new hybrid buses designed to serve currently dormant routes

By Carly Graf : sfexaminer – excerpt

Supes called for swift restoration of community lines and speedy transition to electric buses

City supervisors acting as the San Francisco County Transportation Authority approved a request from the City’s transit agency for $16.2 million Tuesday to purchase a fleet of new Muni buses specifically designed to run on community routes with hilly terrain and narrow streets.

Coming from Prop K tax dollars, the funding will be used to replace 30 32-foot hybrid diesel buses that reached the end of their useful life back in 2017, improving reliability and reducing maintenance costs. Overdue for replacement, the fleet is experiencing “increased mechanical failures,” with buses now expected to run only 4,000 miles before needing another repair…(more)

CA: S.F. small business owner and accessibility advocate to help oversee Muni

By Mallory Moench : masstransit – excerpt

Jan. 5—Mayor London Breed’s nominees for the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency board — a small business owner and an accessibility advocate —were approved Tuesday by the Board of Supervisors.

Manny Yekutiel, the owner of café and political event space Manny’s in the Mission, and Fiona Hinze, system change director at Independent Living Resource Center San Francisco, will help oversee the agency that runs Muni, streets and parking during a tumultuous time, with ridership and finances devastated by the pandemic…

On Tuesday, supervisors unanimously supported Hinze, who has cerebral palsy and uses an electric wheelchair, and voted 9-2 in favor of Yekutiel. Sandra Lee Fewer and Dean Preston dissented, saying they wanted a Latino board member instead. Latinos make up 15% of the city’s population, but at least 30% of Muni ridership, the SFMTA’s Local Government Affairs Manager Joél Ramos told supervisors…

“Our public transportation is a shadow of its former self,” Preston said. “Transit operators are living in fear of losing their jobs with layoffs threatened. Many essential workers have no way to get to work using public transit. Entire lines are shut down with no plan to restore them. MTA has squandered massive amounts of money on failed capital projects. Meanwhile, many members of the public are fearful of returning to public transit.” … (more)

When does the Board of Supervisors stop funding capital projects and force the SFMTA to make Muni function for the riders who need it. Fighting independent drivers is not the way to fix the Muni. Fixing the Muni is the fastest way to get the riders back on the bus.