The T line has never lived up to its promise. Coming upgrades may not be enough to help

Jamil Wardlow leaves his Bayview home an hour early whenever he has to catch the T-Third Street Muni Metro. The line runs so late, and the trains are so sluggish, that he needs that extra time, he said.

Lamar Reed said he once got so tired of waiting for the T that he walked five miles to get downtown from Kirkwood and Third streets.

These aren’t outlier stories; they are typical rider experiences on a troubled light rail line that has never lived up to its promise of delivering brisk, convenient transit service to one of the city’s most isolated and least accessible pockets. Too often, riders say, the line is either stuck at one of the many intersections along its route or idling in car traffic…

The line is about to enter its next phase, when the Central Subway opens in 2019. At that point, the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency will reroute the T near Fourth and King streets, piping trains into a tunnel beneath Fourth Street, where they will zip north under SoMA to a new station in Chinatown.

“Once they open the Central Subway the whole rail line will improve,” said former SFMTA board chair Tom Nolan. He hopes that by 2020, trains will skate from Visitacion Valley and the Bayview up to Stockton Street… (more)

Hello! How does this help the folks in Bay View who have limited service? Sometimes the ideas SFMTA comes up statements with defy reason. This is one of them. Whoever suggested this as a solution to fix the T-Line should apologize for insulting the riders’ intelligence. DON’T WASTE OUR TIME! Don’t worry about speeding service until you eliminate switchbacks!

 

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Forum on the Future of Transportation in San Francisco

SAVE MUNI: Forum on the Future of
Transportation in San Francisco

Saturday, September 29, 10 am to Noon
Koret Auditorium, SF Main Library

The Forum will address increasing congestion on San Francisco’s streets and the deterioration of public transit service. The Muni carries roughly the same number of passengers in 2018 as it did a decade ago despite increasing city population and the continuing economic boom. What can be done to make it easier to move around the city?

The Forum features four presentations by transportation experts who will share their ideas for reducing congestion and improving public transit service.

Jonathan Hopkins, Executive Director of Commute Seattle will describe how his city has been the only one in the nation to increase transit ridership since the recession

Jerry Cauthen Transportation consultant, Senior Engineering Manager and Transportation Vice President, Parsons Brinckerhoff, will talk about ways to improve public transit service and ridership in San Francisco.

Mollie Cohen D’Agostino from the Institute for Transportation Studies at the University of California at Davis will share results of her group’s study of the transportation networking companies (Lyft and Uber) in San Francisco and other American cities.

Bob Feinbaum, Chair of Save Muni will describe the role for congestion pricing in San Francisco, aided by a video featuring Jonas Eliasson, head of transportation for Stockholm which adopted congestion pricing more than a decade ago

These presentations will be followed by a moderated discussion of questions from the audience. Come and share your ideas to make San Francisco truly a city where public transit comes first.

Doors open at 9:30 AM. Please come to the Grove Street library entrance and tell Security that you are here for the transportation forum. Coffee and snacks will be available at the small cafe opposite the auditorium.

Sponsored by Save Muni and the Coalition for San Francisco Neighborhoods.
Contact: Bob Feinbaum bobf@att.net

Muni operators tell assault stories, plead for safety

By Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez : sfexaminer – excerpt

They’ve been vomited on, spat on, beaten, sucker punched, shot with fire extinguishers, and threatened with murder.

Now Muni operators have had enough.

The men and women who help ferry more than 700,000 people in San Francisco every day, and night, aboard buses and light rail vehicles have come forward to tell their tales of assault, in the hopes of compelling The City to do more to keep them and the riding public safe. Those operators were gathered by their union, Transport Workers Local 250-A and its president, Roger Marenco… (more)

SF Muni’s Twin Peaks Tunnel now has automatic control system problems

By : sfchronicle – excerpt

The big $41 million overhaul of San Francisco’s Twin Peaks Tunnel appears to have been hit with the Muni curse… (more)

The most fun thing about covering Muni is coming up with new headlines to describe the latest disaster to befall the challenged agency.

Op-ed: Before Breed Axes Transit Chief, Crucial Changes Needed at City Hall

: streetsblog – excerpt

Sacking Ed Reiskin won’t accomplish anything without a paradigm shift in governance

Last month, Mayor London Breed expressed frustration with Muni’s poor performance in a sternly-worded letter to Ed Reiskin, the city’s transportation director. The move signaled that Reiskin’s tenure might soon end. But if the mayor is going to throw him under the bus, she certainly knows not to count on it arriving on time. Only about half of the city’s buses show up according to schedule, a benchmark that no mayor in recent memory has been able to budge.

The time may have come for a new transit boss, but anyone who heads the San Francisco Municipal Transit Agency (SFMTA) will fail unless firm, decisive changes occur at City Hall.

The first priority: Create a bold vision for Muni. And it must come directly from our new mayor… (more)

 Everyone seems to anticipate that Ed will go and are glad to see the back of him. He appears to have little support from the pubic that is made up of cyclists, drivers, Muni riders and government officials. It will be hard for the Mayor to keep him much longer.

City decides route for Caltrain extension to Transbay Terminal

By : curbed – excerpt

Path plan called “a 100-year decision,” compared to BART and Golden Gate Bridge at hearing

On Tuesday, the San Francisco County Transit Authority [SFCTA]—a body composed of members of the Board of Supervisors and separate from SFMTA—decided on a $6.1 billion plan to connect Caltrain to the new Transbay Transit Terminal via a tunnel underneath Pennsylvania Avenue.

The unanimous SFCTA vote capped off months of planning and speculation on a proposal that stretches back more than a decade.

The city had considered three potential paths for the rail extension, but Tuesday’s Planning Department presentation to SFCTA favored the Pennsylvania option…

Rahaim called the vote for the Pennsylvania alignment “a 100-year decision.”

At the hearing, Supervisor Malia Cohen, whose district most of the route runs through, said that community feedback thus far was “mostly negative.”

But she compared the extension to BART and the Golden Gate Bridge—two other huge transit plans that were contentious at the time but in hindsight no-brainers—and predicted that the route would garner popular support in the long run…

Note that approval from many other agencies is needed for the full proposal to move forward… (more)

Muni cuts training hours to boost number of train operators, combat driver shortage

By Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez : sfexaminer – excerpt

In its scramble to roll out qualified train operators quickly amid a citywide Muni slowdown caused by an operator shortage, The City’s transportation agency has cut its standards and reduced the training hours for train operators, the San Francisco Examiner has learned.

Additionally, the number of hours certified trainers teach operators has been cut. Instead, operators are partially trained by other, already-trained operators that may not be certified trainers themselves — a practice that has the Muni operators union crying foul.

“If operators themselves don’t feel safe with their own training, how safe is the service being provided?” said Roger Marenco, president of the Transport Workers Union Local 250-A, in an August interview with the Examiner…(more)

Muni can’t seem to win. Maye they should listen to the workers instead of the voices in their head? We understand the biggest problem for the drivers is that they do not feel safe or respected. Why talk to the PUC? Aren’t they the group that is in charge of all the Uber, Lyfts and non-public disruptors? What do the drivers say about their training? Are they satisfied? Or may we ask?

Forum on the Future of Transportation in San Francisco

SAVE THE DATE !
Saturday, September 29, 10 AM- Noon
Koret Auditorium, SF Main Library

Please ensure you attend this important event to start a city wide dialogue on improvements necessary to increase ridership on our MUNI system and reduce traffic congestion.

PROGRAM:

  1. One of Seattle’s transportation leaders will present on their unique increase in transit ridership.
  2. Analysis of a major study on the role of transportation networking companies
  3. Role of congestion pricing in San Francisco
  4. Next steps to create a better transportation policy for our city
    We have invited Mayor London Breed to extend a welcome and to share the results of her recent letter to the city’s Municipal Transportation Agency.
  5. A moderator will take questions from the audience after the conclusion of the presentations and pose them to the panelists.

Sponsored by Save Muni and co-sponsored by the Coalition for San Francisco Neighborhoods. Contact and RSVP: Bob Feinbaum bo…@att.net

Editorial: Muni’s terrible summer may cost SFMTA head his job

It’s been a terrible summer for San Francisco Muni riders, and Mayor London Breed is losing patience.

In a letter to SFMTA director Ed Reiskin last week, Breed wrote, “I have communicated to the SFMTA Board of Directors that I want to see significant improvements in Muni service, and in fact, in all facets of the SFMTA.”…

The letter felt like a strong hint that Reiskin’s job may be in jeopardy. Replacing him isn’t likely to happen overnight — the SFMTA board is the body that would fire Reiskin. On Tuesday, the board voiced support for Reiskin after he apologized for Muni’s failures.

But Breed fills empty seats on the board, and vacancies could easily allow her to engineer Reiskin’s ouster if improvements don’t happen quickly…

The MTA has said the company failed to disclose those violations — but the MTA should have done its due diligence.
Asked about Muni’s string of woes, SFMTA spokesman Paul Rose said, “We did not correctly anticipate the level of impact on our system and riders at the time.”

Rose added that the agency is trying to find solutions that can be implemented quickly. To combat a long-standing driver shortage, it’s converting some part-time operators to full-time hours and working to certify more than 200 operators by the end of the year.

Those are fine ideas. Unfortunately, they should have been taken before the June tunnel closure. If they’re not implemented rapidly, they may not be enough to satisfy either City Hall or the hundreds of thousands of frustrated riders who rely on Muni every day.

This commentary is from The Chronicle’s editorial board. We invite you to express your views in a letter to the editor. Please submit your letter via our online form: SFChronicle.com/letters.

Reiskin hangs on to his job, avoids firing —for now

By Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez” : sfexaminer – excerpt

In the first public opportunity for The City’s transportation board to oust or chastise Muni’s embattled head honcho, the board opted instead to show their support.

On Monday Mayor London Breed issued a fiery letter condemning the leadership of Ed Reiskin, the head of the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, laying a litany of issues at his feet, including a citywide Muni slowdown stranding thousands of riders, and a failure to properly vet the safety record of Shimmick Construction, a contractor repairing the Twin Peaks Tunnel.

Insiders told the San Francisco Examiner this looked like a precursor to ousting Reiskin. But, importantly, Breed can’t fire him.

Instead, that responsibility rests with the SFMTA Board of Directors, who in a closed-door session conducted Reiskin’s annual job performance evaluation Tuesday.

While the results of the evaluation are confidential, the board voiced its support for him at its public meeting Tuesday…(more)