SFMTA Secures Grant Funds to Expand Muni’s Bus Fleet

sfmta – excerpt

The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA), which oversees all transportation in the city, including Municipal Railway (Muni), announced today that it will receive grant funds from the Federal Transit Administration’s (FTA) new Ladders of Opportunity Initiative. These funds will allow Muni to add twelve, 60-foot buses to help meet the growing demand of the city of San Francisco’s transit needs, address existing crowding, improve service reliability, and increase economic opportunity by improving access to jobs and services.

“New larger buses will help us expand service for a growing San Francisco. Thank you to Secretary Foxx and the Department of Transportation for their more than $9 million investment in our City’s public transit system,” said Mayor Ed Lee. “While these new vehicles are very important to Muni’s fleet, the infrastructure they run on is equally important, and this November, voters have the opportunity to approve a $500 million transportation bond that will provide critical infrastructure improvements, including $358 million dedicated to infrastructure projects that will make Muni faster, more frequent and more reliable.”…

The new 60 foot buses are projected to be in service by end of spring 2015… (more)

SFMTA hearing to address near-term service response before new light-rail cars arrive

By sfexminer – excerpt

San Francisco officials have celebrated the contract approval for top-of-the-line light-rail vehicles to improve a dismal Muni service, but before the first new cars show up, riders will have years of waiting to do.

That’s why Supervisor Scott Wiener, who has made Muni and transportation infrastructure one of his top political causes, has called for a hearing to learn what the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency plans to do in the meantime.

“We need to know what the current situation is, what the plan is to get us out of this current situation, and how Muni sees the next three, four, five years going,” Wiener said last week. He said the agency’s response should not be: “Riders don’t worry, at some point in the future it’s going to be all fixed.”…

On Friday, Muni spokesman Paul Rose provided some insight into the transit agency’s short-term strategy for improving service.

“We look forward to working with Supervisor Wiener to help share information about the work we are doing to improve Muni,” Rose said. “The procurement of up to 260 light-rail vehicles is the single most significant thing we can do to improve service and we will continue to try new things to ensure our existing equipment works to the best of its ability.”…(more)

Good to see that someone else is starting to want some relief sooner rather than years later. There is no immediate plan other than to ask for more money. Read the report and see if you can find one. These guys only know how to do one thing. Demand money. JUST SAY No on A and B.

Chris Daly Breaks Up With Union, Pro-Car Measure Apparently Not To Blame [Updated]

sfist – excerpt

We don’t have Chris Daly to kick around anymore (again). The bombastic former city supervisor whom everybody loved to hate has severed his ties with San Francisco’s most-visible union, the purple-shirted army of Service Employees International Union Local 1021, for whom he had been working for the past three years…

The longtime friend-of-Daly SF Bay Guardian noted yesterday that Daly parted ways with the union at the same time as it endorsed Proposition L, which has backing from Republicans as well as tech maven Sean Parker. The measure would steer city transit funding towards motorists and make it tougher for the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency to stick parking meters wherever it damn pleases…

SFist: If you didn’t leave SEIU over Prop L issues (as you told Steve Jones) what was the reason behind your departure?

Daly: Even though I disagree with the decision 1021 made on Proposition L, it had no bearing on my departure. In fact, internal discussions about me leaving my post as Political Director started about 6 months ago — long before Prop L was even a glimmer in Sean Parker’s eye… (more)

30 Stockton Muni station changes changed again

By John Zipperer : marinatimes – excerpt

A change of station stops by the 30 Stockton bus appears to be short-lived, following rider reaction. Several folks complained that Muni failed to respond to their complaints, but apparently those complaints were still heard loud and clear.

The controversy involves the switch of a stop from Divisadero and Chestnut Street to Fillmore and Chestnut Streets. What should have been a simple switch of locations caused trouble for riders who missed connections, were forced to exit the bus in the street because there wasn’t room for the bus to pull up to the curb, and other inconveniences.

The complaints came flooding in; the Marina Times received numerous calls and letters from people upset with the changes. Resident Janet Maslow pointed out that when the driver stops to take a 15-minute break, passengers have to disembark and wait for the next 30 bus. “Sometimes there is a bus waiting and sometimes not. If one is waiting and you get on it you usually have a few minutes’ wait because he is still on break. I don’t have the patience to wait, and I usually walk the rest of the way [home], which is OK during the day but late at night not OK. When I am almost home, a 30 drives past, very often empty because most people don’t wait,” she noted. “I understand that this is a pilot project, but it sucks; even the bus drivers detest it.”… (more)

Reasons why the buses are more reliable than cable cars and trains

In case you haven’t noticed, when their is a problem on a bus line, the buses CAN be rerouted. Every day you see numerous notices from SFMTA about re-routed bus lines due to emergency conditions such as fires – SF Muni Bus Lines 12, 14, 27, 49 Being Re-Routed or other alterations caused by heavy construction or roadwork.

Almost daily you also see notices about stopped trains and cable car lines -
SF Muni California Cable Car Line delayed due to an Accident. There is no way to re-route a rail or cable car so the whole line must come to a halt when such an incident occurs.

If the lower costs of purchasing, and operating a bus line were not enough to convince you that buses make the most financial sense, the reliability factor should be considered as well. That is why many professional transportation professionals favor buses over rail. You need a certain number of buses just to cover for the downtime of rail.

RELATED:
THE ECONOMIST:  “Streetcars and Urban Renewal:  Rolling Blunder”, “Federal subsidies have inspired some silly transit projects”, August 9, 2014:  http://www.economist.com/news/united-states/21611123-federal-subsidies-have-inspired-some-silly-transit-projects-rolling-blunder  

The Week This Was

Not much is going well this week for the heads-in-the-sand SFMTA and friends. While SFMTA supporters make false allegations against Prop L proponents, and play the blame game, the headlines tell the stories that best explain why residents and commuters are demanding change.

Media blitz September 25, 2014:
How a $900 parking citation became a $25,000 federal lawsuit against SF
No Free Rides: Finally, Inevitably: Muni Is Suing Muni
Rank-and-file S.F. firefighters call for chief’s ouster
S.F. supervisor makes case for fire chief’s ouster
How Transbay Transit Center deal’s collapse would alter S.F.
Possible Golden Gate Bridge District Strike Would Cripple Commute
Carshare reserved parking not favored by everyone
Despite Free Parking, San Francisco Meters Continue Collecting On Sundays
SEIU Local 1021 backs motorist measure and a Republican. WTF?!?!

We generally suggest leaving comments at the source site, but a number of publications have recently removed comments, so please leave your thoughts here.

SEIU Local 1021 backs motorist measure and a Republican. WTF?!?!

By : sfbg – excerpt

seiu endorses l-1

Service Employees International Union Local 1021 — which has long played an important role in San Francisco’s progressive movement, providing the money and member turnout to achieve some important victories for the left — finds itself at odds with many progressive activists in this election, particularly on the issue of transportation….

So we asked Local 1021 Political Chair Alysabeth Alexander about the endorsement, and she told us: “One of our member leaders is a proponent and the argument that driving is hell in San Francisco resonated with a portion of our membership that drives and for whom public transportation is not an option either because of service cuts and route changes, because their job requires car use, or because they work shifts that don’t work for public transportation or biking. Because of rising housing prices many working people have been pushed out of SF over the years, and many of our workers shifts end or start when BART or Muni isn’t working or isn’t practical. Our union is 100 percent supportive of public transportation and addressing the climate crisis head-on.  We are fighting for the expansion of public transportation and for adequate funding, and sufficient staffing so that it can be maintained.”… (more)

Newsflash. The Restore Transportation Balance intiative is a non-partisan effort to fix the public transit, parking and traffic nightmare that SFMTA has brought to the city. The fact that 80% (according to recent reports) of Muni employees commute to the city and the Muni drivers filed a class action against their boses, explains their support for Prop L.

 

No Free Rides: Finally, Inevitably: Muni Is Suing Muni

By sfweekly – excerpt

Wednesday, May 28 2014: You can add Muni management to the burgeoning list of people blindsided by Muni drivers.

Earlier this month, a U.S. District Court judge certified some 2,500 drivers — every man and woman who has slipped behind the wheel of a bus, train, trolley, or cable car since July 2009 — as a class in a federal suit against Muni. And, like Muni, that suit is moving forward with extreme slowness — and may cost the city an arm and a leg…

There’s a lot of money riding on this determination. Multiply the $50 daily penalty for violating the Minimum Wage Ordinance by five years worth of days and 2,500 workers. The total: $228 million. That’s a lot of cash. And a lot of leverage, if a settlement is in the offing… (more)

Ever wonder why your Muni bus is late? Who do you blame? The drivers blame management and are suing them. We are re-visiting this story to remind voters where Muni money goes. A large chunk goes to pay for management’s legal losses. In this case they are charged with failure to adhere to labor laws, but in many others they are charged with collecting on false tickets. More than 30% of all settlements San Francisco pays are attributed to SFMTA complaints.

RELATED:
Muni drivers in class action lawsuit against agency

Wiener, Transit Activists Raid Nonprofit Funding

by Randy Shaw : beyondchron – excerpt

If Supervisor Scott Wiener and transit activists get their way, San Francisco’s most vulnerable residents will face millions of dollars in budget cuts next year. Wiener’s Prop B raids $22 million in annual funding for nonprofits and sends the money to that bottomless funding pit known as the SFMTA—with no money earmarked for MUNI service.

How is such a mandated money grab possible in progressive San Francisco? How could Wiener, who came to office backed by real estate speculators and only supports tenant measures he has no power to enact, get progressive transit activists, five other supervisors and the San Francisco Democratic Party to raid $22 million annually from already underfunded nonprofit services?

It is a cynical story. It involves Wiener betraying nonprofits, putting the $500 million transit bond at risk, and backstabbing Mayor Lee all for the goal of giving no-strings money to an SFMTA that has failed to translate a decade of steep budget increases into improved MUNI service.

Wiener’s War on Nonprofits

I understand why Wiener backs Prop B. Wiener is the Board member most opposed to nonprofits. He fought to eliminate the nonprofit exemption on Transit Impact Development Fees.  Wiener pushed for the proposed Vehicle License Fee to go 100% to transit, though it had originally been intended to be partially available for human services. He has never led efforts to increase annual cost of doing business funding for the nonprofit sector.

Wiener knows that Prop B takes money from nonprofit budgets. That’s why he recently voted against the David Campos resolution to put the Board on record backing a supplemental appropriation for nonprofit worker salary hikes if the city’s budget is doing well mid-year. Wiener knows there won’t be a dime left for nonprofits if Prop B passes; otherwise he would have backed Campos’ resolution (which got seven votes)..

What’s troubling is that after progressive Board members allowed nonprofit workers to get stiffed in the recent budget process, they then joined Wiener’s plan to take an additional $22 million from nonprofits each year… (more)

We were asked who is fighting Prop B and this is what we found. We were aware of the struggle between non-profits for funding, but Mr. Shaw gives us more details than we anticipated. If you care you should read the entire article and comment at the source.

The SFMTA Has a New, Friendly Blog, and Readers Seem Suspicious.

By : sfweekly – excerpt

Did you know that the SFMTA has a new blog, Moving SF? Seemingly timed with the recent 25-cent fare increase, the parent agency of Muni has decided its image problem has grown dire, and wants to give the everyday commuter (that’d be you!) insight into the workings of one of the most disliked government bodies.

“We want to start telling your our story,” says the Aug. 28 inaugural post.

As SF Citizen already so poignantly put it: That’s just bull shit. But as just as every powerful actor needs a good foil or two, Moving SF’s comments section has already become very lively. Looking beyond the acrimonious debates over the merits of the GBUS TO MTV and its fellow corporate shuttles, it appears that any official attempt at propagandizing the beleaguered strap-hanging populace with the SFMTA party line will at least be matched by well-informed opposition down below.

A subsequent post brought it all out. An introduction to a new Q&A feature about city streets, it solicited inquiries from readers and got a mouthful in reply:…

Could it be that SFMTA and Muni are attempting to curry favor with ordinary San Franciscans in order to get half a billion dollars at precisely the moment when tenants are feeling the squeeze more than ever? Time will tell. If Moving SF doesn’t want to volunteer its motives, its vivacious commenters just might wring it out of them… (more)

The least trusted city agency, that has the gall to blame the public for it’s failures, now wants to “play nice” to convince us to allow them to float another $850 million plus of public debt. (after you add in the interest on the bonds) And the Fed just downgraded Muni bonds this week.

They must think we are dumber than we do.

We say No on A and B (no more money without accountability) and Yes on L: Restore Transportation Balance (demand accountability)

REALATED:
The SFMTA’s New MUNI Blog Urges You to Raise Your Rent by Voting YES on the Half Billion Dollar Prop A, More or Less