Life without Muni presents hardships for seniors and disabled residents

By Carly Graf : sfexaminer – excerpt

…San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency cut the 31-Balboa in April, along with Muni rail and all but 17 bus routes, in order to manage its budget crisis and balance limited operator availability with declining ridership demand.

The resulting Core Service Plan concentrated limited resources on transit-dependent residents while prioritizing access to life-giving and life-saving destinations like food and hospitals for The City’s neediest, including older adults and the disabled, according to spokesperson Erica Kato…(more)

Here is an idea, instead of pushing a sales tax to keep the Caltrain afloat, the city could cut their spending on non-Muni projects and concentrate on designing a Muni system that works for he people who need it. Let the train, bike lanes and traffic control go for a while and take care of the Muni.

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



COVID-19 Developments & Response

By SFMTA online: https://www.sfmta.com/projects/covid-19-developments-response

COVID-19 Developments & Response
We are closely monitoring what is happening with the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). Please continue to check this page for the latest updates…

Muni Service: Please do not ride Muni if you are feeling ill, except as necessary to seek medical care after consulting with your medical provider. We’re also asking customers to only take Muni for essential trips that can’t be made by walking, biking or other modes of transportation.

Backdoor boarding is now required on all vehicles, except for passengers in wheelchairs or with other accessibility needs. If you need assistance, please request to board from the front door and an operator will help you access the ramp or the kneeler.

Muni bus service is currently running a reduced schedule:
Get details on which Muni routes are currently affected

Due to changing ridership, and in order to prioritize resources during the shelter-in-place order, the following additional service changes will be implemented:

Current Muni Service Modifications

Monday, April 6

  • Customers should prepare for delays across the Muni system both Monday and Tuesday. We expect to be below necessary staffing levels to provide adequate service. This gap will cause missed runs and delays that may not be accurately reflected in digital predictions. Please do not make trips unless they are essential. If you need to make an essential trip, plan to use other options or allow extra time when riding Muni.

Beginning Tuesday, April 7

  • Service will be temporarily discontinued on seven routes that are experiencing low ridership or have nearby lines that provide similar service and connections.
  • Routes to be discontinued include: 2 Clement, 3 Jackson, 5 Fulton, 7 Haight, 10 Townsend, 21 Hayes and 31 Balboa.

Beginning Wednesday, April 8

  • Service will be further reduced; remaining service will focus on our 17 most-used lines. This core network will provide service within one mile of all San Franciscans. This approach allows Muni to continue to serve San Francisco’s medical facilities and focuses on equity to ensure service for our customers most reliant on transit. The frequency of buses will vary by line so that lines experiencing some crowding will have more frequent service than others.
  • The 17 core routes that will remain in service, with some modifications include: N Judah Bus, L Taraval Bus, T Third Bus, 1 California, 8 Bayshore, 9 San Bruno, 14 Mission, 14R Mission Rapid, 19 Polk, 22 Fillmore, 24 Divisadero, 25 Treasure Island, 29 Sunset, 38 Geary, 38R Geary Rapid, 44 O’Shaughnessy, 49 Van Ness/Mission
  • More information on these service changes is on our blog

Map of service starting Wednesday, April 8

Paratransit

Paratransit service continues to operate as normal so that customers can travel for essential needs as defined by the Public Health Order. We ask riders to cancel any non-essential trips. If you are a paratransit customer and you need to cancel a previously scheduled SF Access trip, please call 415.285.6945 as soon as possible.

Effective Wednesday, March 18, the SF Paratransit Office will operate with limited capacity during regular business hours (Monday – Friday, 9:00 a.m. – 4:45 p.m.). Teller window hours are subject to change.

During this time, reduced staffing will be available to accept cash payments for monthly taxi debit card allotments only.

Parking Enforcement

Effective on Tuesday, March 17 for the duration of the shelter-in-place order, the SFMTA will not ticket for mechanical street cleaning. Street cleaning tickets issued on March 17 will be waived. However, it is crucial that we still clean our streets to prevent trash buildup and local flooding. Please still move your car for street cleaning if you can.

Enforcement will also be temporarily suspended for the following:

  • 72-hour parking limit and towing
  • All time limit parking (e.g., 1-hour, 2-hour, etc.)
  • Residential Permit Parking (RPP) permits
  • Commuter shuttles
  • Peak-hour towaway zones
  • Street cleaning

The SFMTA will prioritize enforcing parking rules that impact health and safety:

  • Fire hydrant zones
  • Red and yellow zones; and “No Stopping” or “No Parking” zones
  • White passenger loading zones, except in front of schools while they are out of session
  • Blocked driveways, double parking and parking on sidewalks
  • Parking in bike or transit lanes

Parking Meters: Given the significant shifts in parking demand, the city is implementing a temporary rate change for all parking meters citywide beginning on March 18 through the period of the Public Health Order. Time limits are also being waived on meters citywide, and is expected to be fully implemented by March 29.

By Tuesday, March 24, all meters will be reduced to their base rates through April 7:

  • $0.50/hour for vehicle parking
  • $0.10/hour for motorcycle parking

We are maintaining a minimal fee to ensure there continues to be turnover around essential services, such as grocery stores, medical facilities and banks.

Parking Garages

To minimize risk to the public and our garage staff, the SFMTA has closed some city-owned parking garages and limited others to monthly pass-holders only. We are prioritizing maintaining access to garages that are near essential services like medical facilities or markets.

The following garages will be closed to the public until further notice:

  • Golden Gateway Garage (call 415-956-8003 for assistance)
  • Ellis-O’Farrell Garage (call 415-765-9069 for assistance)
  • Moscone Center Garage (call 415-765-9069 for assistance)

These garages will be open only to monthly pass holders:

  • Japan Center Annex Garage (call 415-956-8003 for assistance)
  • Performing Arts Garage (call 415-956-8003 for assistance)
  • Kezar Lot (call 415-956-8003 for assistance)
  • 16th and Hoff Garage (call 415-956-8003 for assistance)
  • Lombard Garage (call 415-956-8003 for assistance)
  • 7th and Harrison Lot (call 415-956-8003 for assistance)
  • Polk-Bush Garage – monthy pass holders with 24/7 access only (call 415-956-8003 for assistance)

The following garages are currently open to the public:

  • Zuckerberg General Hospital Garage
  • St. Mary’s Square Garage
  • 5th and Mission Garage
  • Sutter and Stockton Garage
  • Union Square Garage
  • Civic Center Garage
  • North Beach Garage
  • Vallejo Street Garage
  • Pierce Garage
  • Portsmouth Square Garage
  • Japan Center Garage
  • Mission-Bartlett Garage

Taxis and Ramp Taxis

Taxi services continue to operate as an essential service. ​Individual taxi companies are following best practices to minimize the risks of transmission. To request a taxi you can continue to hail them in the street or at the nearest taxi stand. You can also search the taxi directory or the wheelchair accessible ramp taxi directory for links to apps and contact information. During this time, the Emergency Ride Home program provided by official taxis will continue for individuals who work in San Francisco and are fulfilling essential job functions.

Taxi Drivers: Please note the Taxi Services Window is closed until further notice. Please see our website for more information or call 415.701.4400

Bikeshare and Scooter Share

We are deferring to operator discretion as to whether they continue to operate, and ​sharing best practices with them to minimize the risk of transmission of the virus. Please visit the websites and apps of the individual companies for more information on availability during the COVID-19 shelter-in-place.

Fines and Fees

Until further notice the SFMTA will take the following the actions:

  • Suspend new late penalties on citations
  • Extend deadlines for submitting citation protests
  • Extend citation/boot/tow hearings deadlines – you may request 48-hour tow hearing at hearingsgeneral@sfmta.com or call 415.503.8453
  • Extend deadlines for active community service programs
  • Extend deadlines for completing active payment plans
  • No longer forward additional delinquent citations to the Department of Motor Vehicles or Special Collections

Fares

No Lifeline passes will be sold for the months of April and May. Lifeline IDs, regardless of the monthly sticker displayed, are valid as proof of payment.

Customer Service Center

Effective Thursday, March 19, 2020, the Customer Service Center at 11 South Van Ness Avenue will be temporarily closed.

Get info on how to access SFMTA services(more)

1 killed by Muni train at bus stop in San Francisco’s Visitacion Valley

abc7news – excerpt (includes video)

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) — Police and the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) are investigating a deadly accident involving a Muni train in San Francisco.

The incident happened around 1:30 a.m. Sunday morning on Bayshore Boulevard and Sunnydale Avenue and a man was pronounced dead at the scene.

Officials say while the train was stopped and waiting for the light at the last stop, a man on the platform approached the train and tried to open the doors.

“Preliminary information indicates that the deceased sat on the couplers between two LRV cars while the train was stopped,” police said in a news release. “He fell underneath the second car of the train once it started moving again.”

When the operator started to turn the train around, the man fell off the platform and the second car of the train hit him… (more)

Safety Expert Says Muni Dragging Incident is About More than Faulty Doors

: streetblog – excerpt

The operator’s main job in the Market Street tunnel is to make sure it is safe to proceed. Either the new trains have serious blind spots or the operator didn’t do that.

Earlier this month, a woman whose finger was caught in the door of a new Muni train was dragged and badly injured at the Embarcadero Station. Recriminations are focusing on the doors, which apparently don’t always properly reset when a small object obstructs them from fully closing.

The city has responded by delaying funds for additional car purchases. According to a statement from SFMTA, they will be locking the rear doors on the new Muni trains so that “…operators can focus on seeing passengers entering and exiting the single doors nearest to them which adds a level of safety vigilance.” The agency also wrote that they “…want to remind customers to avoid holding the doors open in any way.”

But focusing solely on the doors, according to a safety expert and others familiar with transit operations, misses a larger issue…

 “Muni has a broken safety and operational culture if it allows a train operator to drag a woman who has her hand stuck in the door.”…

“Riders deserve to understand what went wrong and what’s being done to prevent it from ever happening again,” said Hyden. “We need Muni to take responsibility and be clear about any changes needed in management, oversight, training, maintenance, procedures, or testing.” (more)

 

APTA: Public transit ridership down in 2018

By Katie Pyzyk : smartcitiesdive – excerpt

Dive Brief:

  • Americans took 9.9 billion public transit trips in 2018, a 2% decrease from 2017, according to a report from the American Public Transportation Association (APTA).
  • Bus ridership fell 1.84%, light rail (streetcars, modern trolleys, heritage trolleys) fell 2.98% and heavy rail (subways and elevated trains) fell 2.6%. Commuter rail was the only mode with a ridership increase at 0.41%.
  • Of the 31 large and small city transit systems included in APTA’s data, 20 experienced year-over-year ridership losses, nine experienced gains and two did not have data available.

Dive Insight:

APTA’s data mirrors other associations’ and federal data that indicate overall decreases in transit ridership the past several years. Data released in the fall from the U.S. Census Bureau’s annual American Community Survey showed that citizens’ commutes became longer and in 2017, nearly 12,000 fewer commuters used public transportation.

A recent KPMG report suggests that transit agencies embrace industry disruptions and cater to customers’ changing tastes — namely, by moving away from fixed-route buses and toward new mobility options, or partnering with private companies who offer such services. It also suggested that transit agencies become more savvy with using rider data to determine where and when people need to travel to devise viable microtransit solutions… (more)

What are they thinking?

What is wrong with this picture?

Just because the seats have separations or simples to keep people from sliding sideways does not mean the rest of their bodies sill staying place. Instead of the bodies sliding sideways, the shoulders and heads will move sideways and some shoulder and head injuries may still occur.

Some people claim they are already not able to use the Muni because of the seats.

Siemens Light Rail Trains Seating

Wednesday, March 20, 3:30 PM – contact SFMTA CAC
Noe Valley Room 7th Floor 1 S Van Ness MTA Headquarters
SFMTA CAC Meeting
– agenda
Siemens Light Rail Trains Seating
will be a discussion topic at the MTA Citizens’ Advisory Council Finance and Administration Committee meeting
Seating is a major issue for many:
* Seats too high for individuals with short legs.
* Seats are hard on hip bone contact
* Flat seats and sliding  – seats not contoured for stability
* Back and forth train movement with no back support is difficult on the spine.
* Incline travel (Dolores Park for example) is hard on the spine
* Middle person has to reach across to push the stop button, no pull cord available
* Seating is awkward / confining  for the “middle” person

BACKROUND:

Several years ago the  MTA internet survey resulted in about a 55%-45% approval of the current configuration. At some meetings this has been interpreted as overwhelming support. This current seating configuration allows more passenger capacity.  However, the fleet will grow from 151  to  about 220 or so.

As disclosed at the MTA office site Board meeting, Muni will conduct an “intercept” survey asking patrons their opinion of the seat configuration.

When the topic arises in personal conversation, no one has approved of the new seat configuration.

Bottom line,  you have to show up as numbers count if your are dissatisfied with the current seat configuration.  As with any major equipment procurement, change orders for a price are in line.  With only about 70 light rail vehicles delivered, now is the time to initiate a change order to the contract.   This decision will be with us for the next 30 years until the next generation of light rail vehicles is purchased. If you can’t get there in person, send letters and comments to your supervisor, Ed Reiskin and the SFMTA CAC expressing your feelings regarding these seats.
Contact: San Francisco City Mayor, and Supervisors, and SFMTA