Muni N-Judah streetcar riders may soon get some relief during their packed morning and evening commute home. A six-month pilot project to run an express bus between Ocean Beach and the Financial District will begin on Monday. With 38,000 daily boardings, the Municipal Transportation Agency says the N-Judah is the most used and crowded of all the rail lines. Complaints have been coming in to the transit agency from passengers who are not able to board the N-Judah during peak hours, according to the agency. The six-month pilot project will operate on weekdays during peak morning and evening hours making stops between Ocean Beach and 19th Avenue and Judah Street in the morning before heading to Montgomery and Bush streets.
Like it or not, Muni operators must accept a labor contract they rejected last week. An independent arbitrator made her decision Monday to implement the tentative labor contract that was agreed upon by union leaders and the Municipal Transportation Agency last month. The contract includes the same terms as the previous agreement including a three-year wage freeze, the hiring of part-time drivers and changes in work rules that management says will provide a more efficient transit system. The new labor contract will save the transit agency $41 million in labor costs over the next three years, according to an agency representative. “This new contract will restore SFMTA’s ability to efficiently schedule transit services, and will reduce the cost of built-in overtime and standby pay by using part-time operators,” said the agency’s Director of Administrator, Debra Johnson in a statement.
The San Francisco Examiner reports that Muni Executive Director Nathaniel Ford will leave the transit agency by the end of the month. Ford has been rumored to be a candidate for a position with the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority, but members from the authority delayed the decision in choosing its next executive director back in March. The announcement of his departure arrives at the same time Muni operators were forced to accept a labor contract by an independent arbitrator. The Examiner reports that Ford would not leave until labor talks were finished. An unnamed Municipal Transportation Agency official told the Examiner on Wednesday that he will mostly likely step down from his position by the end of the month.
An arbitrator-imposed labor contract for the city’s Muni operators went into effect on Friday and is expected to save the city $41 million over the next three years. City Supervisor Scott Wiener wants the transit agency to show where those savings are coming from.
Wiener introduced a resolution at Tuesday’s Board of Supervisors meeting calling upon the transit agency’s governing board to give periodic updates on how the agency is saving money from the deal.
The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency board of directors announced Thursday that the Department of Public Works Director Ed Reiskin will become the next agency’s executive director. Reiskin arrives at a crucial time in the agency where Muni’s on-time performance fell slightly to 71 percent and the relationship between the agency and its drivers is increasingly strained.
The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, which oversees public transportation in the city, faces a $53 million budget deficit for the next two years. At a meeting in the San Francisco Public Library Wednesday evening, the agency was showing off its budget plan and was getting public feedback. We follow it via Storify.
City transportation director Ed Reiskin says he hopes to control Muni’s overtime spending in the next fiscal year by budgeting it at $42 million. After budgeting $32 million for this fiscal year, the actual spending is expected to reach $60 million.
Riders and businesses in the Mission District say the rerouting of major Muni bus lines is causing confusion and hurting commerce. The 14-Mission, 14L-Mission and 49-Mission/Van Ness, which usually travel along Mission Street, have been rerouted to South Van Ness since the beginning of March because of a repavement and infrastructure project by the Department of Public Works and Public Utilities Commission. The project affects Mission Street between 16th and Cesar Chavez streets.
By Zusha Elinson, Bay Citizen
Muni paid thousands of dollars in bonuses to top executives for meeting or exceeding on-time performance goals, even as the agency inflated its on-time rates by as much as 18 percent. The agency’s two previous chief executives, Michael Burns and Nathaniel Ford, received the bonuses. Both men have denied knowing about the on-time rate inflation. Ed Reiskin, the current Muni chief, does not have any performance bonuses written into his contract. Read the complete story at Bay Citizen
Bus rapid transit, which is meant as a cheaper substitute to light rail by using special buses in dedicated traffic lanes, is set to debut on Van Ness Avenue in 2016. However, design challenges and funding are slowing down plans for the Geary route.
A pilot program to give the city’s low-income youth a free Fast Pass to ride Muni will not happen as planned. The Metropolitan Transportation Commission voted 8-7 Wednesday against giving $4 million to help Muni fund a $9 million pilot program. The commission had been debating for months on whether or not to give the Municipal Transportation Agency money for the program. The 22-month pilot program had the support of Muni’s board of directors, but it was contingent upon getting regional transportation funds. Commissioners also rejected funding for similar public transportation programs in Santa Clara and Alameda counties.
Hate it when you’re late to work because the Muni driver tells you to get off the train? You’re not the only one. San Francisco’s civil grand jury — a kind of officially sanctioned panel of city residents who report on what doesn’t work in county government — recommended on Thursday that Muni officials do away with the practice of switchbacks. That’s when riders are forced off a Muni train before it makes its usual final stop, and heads in the opposite direction to make up for lost time elsewhere. Muni downplayed the report. “We recognize that anytime you do a switchback, it has an inconvenience to the riders,” Haley said. “So we do everything we can to minimize that,” said John Haley, Muni’s director of operations.
Muni’s all-door boarding policy that went into effect July 1 appears to be working – although riders on at least one line are complaining about everyone not lining up at the front. A transit agency report found that passengers spent less time waiting at bus stops for riders to board while use of the back door became more frequent.
San Francisco transit director Ed Reiskin wants to use $6.7 million in extra regional transportation funds for a 12-month pilot program to hand out free Fast Passes to the city’s low-income youth and to rehabilitate light-rail vehicles.
A proposal to pull out tunnel-digging machines in North Beach has spurred debate about the prospect of building additional stations to extend the Central Subway project north of Chinatown. But transit officials say that’s not in the current plans, and such a move would take years more planning.
Mission Local reporter Abe Rodriguez talks about the cons, and pros — easing traffic congestion and lessening air pollution — of the red bus-only lanes in the Mission District.
“Muni Diaries,” an online journal, collects and shares Muni riders’ stories in its blog, podcasts and live events around San Francisco. Co-founder Eugenia Chien and producer Peter Clarke provide a glimpse of what’s happening in the world of buses, streetcars, transit stops and stations around town.