Union president: Muni operators willing to sacrifice days off to prevent more delays

By abc7news – excerpt (includes video)

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) — Problems with Muni have been mounting this entire month. An equipment issue led to a day of delays Friday and operators have been refusing to work overtime.

ABC7 News Reporter Luz Pena spoke exclusively with Roger Marenco, the president of the Transport Workers Union local 250. He has a strong message to workers: “Well, we saw the amount of people that were stranded and it’s not a good feeling. We are trying to promote the usage of public transportation. Operators are going to volunteer to work on their 6th and 7th day.”

RELATED: Muni Director of Transportation Edward Reiskin resigns

Friday’s delays impacted more than 100,000 riders from morning to night…

Muni operators are willing to sacrifice their days off to prevent more delays…(more)

Operators may return to working overtime if they feel confident their demands for a new contract and better treatment will be met. We hope City Hall got the message and will respond to the need for change.

This is called a victory!

After Bumpy Week, SFMTA Director Ed Reiskin Announces Resignation – April 29, 2019 – SF Weekly

By Nuala Sawyer :sfweekly – excerpt

Ed Reiskin plans to step down when his contract ends in August.

After an unfortunate week full of broken down trains, understaffing, and defective doors, the leader of the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency announced his plan to resign. Ed Reiskin sent an email to employees of the SFMTA Monday morning announcing he’d step down from his position in August, when his contract ends.

Reiskin was appointed SFMTA director in 2011, and it’s no small task; he manages an operating budget of around $1 billion per year, and is responsible for 5,000 employees. It’s a stressful job, but he’s paid handsomely (and notably, more than the mayor), pulling in $405,747.30 in 2017. Before becoming SFMTA director he was the head of the city’s Department of Public Works.

Mayor London Breed will address the search for a new transportation director in a press conference at 1:30 p.m. Monday.

This is a breaking news story. Stay tuned for updates.(more)

Missteps, Mishaps and Messes: What’s Next for S.F. Muni After Ed Reiskin? By : KQED – excerpt (audio track)

After Muni’s rough month, city leaders consider restructuring agency’s leadership

By Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez : sfexaminer – excerpt

Can we say “Goodbye” to the Muni Monsters? art by sfbluecomics

April has been a rough month for Muni riders, the transit system itself, and its parent entity the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency.

Now, the Board of Supervisors is asking — Should SFMTA’s leadership go?

That doesn’t necessarily mean the agency’s director, Ed Reiskin, should be dismissed — though that’s something they’re discussing. But city leaders are also asking more basic structural questions about the agency’s Board of Directors, wondering if it should be disbanded, reconstituted, or otherwise changed to provide stricter oversight over Muni.

Eight out of 11 members of the Board of Supervisors told the San Francisco Examiner that SFMTA’s leadership needs to change — though none were settled on how, yet… (more)

Maybe the supervisors should start by interviewing the underlings at the agency, the drivers who have been routinely ignored and kept silent for years. Ask the drivers what is wrong with the system they are dealing with daily. Review the complaints that have been filed and start to followup on some of them.

If you want to know where the leadership spends it time and priorities just take a look at Reiskin’s calendar. How much of his time is devoted to Muni matters and how much to his favorite pastime, self-congratulatory events. Ask the staff what is wrong at the agency. They can tell you all you need to know once they know their jobs are not in jeopardy.

Muni door investigation focuses on human error as well as equipment

By Rachel Swan : sfchronicle – excerpt

While pressure builds on Muni to add new door sensors to its troubled Siemens railcars after a woman got stuck and then fell on the tracks, the agency is investigating another possible source of blame: the driver…

“I’m not surprised the agency is looking into trying to discipline the operator,” he said. “It is common practice that the transit operator is the focal point of any accident, incident or collision.”

Marenco characterized the operator as a “scapegoat,” at a moment when Muni’s new Siemens fleet is under intense scrutiny

Muni operators have their own take on the door episode, one of four since last October. They say it validates concerns they have raised for months about faulty equipment, including doors that won’t always detect small objects, such as a finger or a backpack strap. Some have also complained that the camera monitors on the new trains are too small, and don’t provide an adequate field of vision…Muni’s top brass failed to “heed feedback from lower-level staff.”…(more)

When in doubt, blame the end-user or the human for the breakdown of a faulty system. REALLY ED?
Who do you blame for not listening to the operators warnings of problems they were having with the system?
Earth to Ed, the drivers are not your slaves and the public is not YOUR cashbox. You earn respect by giving it.

Blaming the driver or the public for a problem you ignored is like Boeing blaming pilots for not recovering fast enough when their planes get out of control. Humans have some limits and those limits must be respected. Machines work for humans not the other way around.

Braking problem brings SFMTA expansion plans for Siemens purchase to a screeching halt.

Three strikes and the new Siemens are out!

1. Dangerous doors.
2. Braking problems
3. Coupling problems

What will it take to convince the disillusioned pubic that they can trust the Muni Monsters who created this chaos to fix it now that we know they hid problems for months, using the public as guinea pigs. Wait for the lawsuits.


Braking problems putting Muni’s new trains out of commission

By Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez : sfexaminer – excerpt

At any one time, roughly half of Muni’s fleet of new train cars is out of service due to mechanical issues, transit officials acknowledged Tuesday…

Many supervisors voiced concern they were kept in the dark.

“I’m a little shocked we are asked to fund a $62 million contract and yet we are not hearing this type of information on what happened and what you have discovered,” said Supervisor Sandra Fewer… (more)



UPDATE: State launches investigation into Muni doors that trapped and dragged a woman

By Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez : sfexaminer – excerpt (includes video)

State regulators have launched an investigation into Muni’s allegedly malfunctioning doors and broken couplers.

The California Public Utilities Commission, which oversees rail safety in California, has confirmed to the San Francisco Examiner its staff launched a probe into both issues.

The California Public Utilities Commission, which oversees rail safety in California, has confirmed to the San Francisco Examiner its staff launched a probe into both issues.

“Yes, we are aware and we’re investigating what occurred and why,” said Constance Gordon, a spokesperson for the CPUC. “We’re looking at both the door concerns and the coupler pin issue on the new SFMTA cars.”

Both stories hit this week in two investigative reports: Muni’s door problems were exposed by the Examiner, and its coupler pin issues were exposed by NBC Bay Area. NBC Bay Area first reported the state investigation(more)

How many mistakes does the SFMTA have to make before someone shows the director the door? Can we start applying expectations of honesty to our local officials? When does a false or misleading statement rise to the level of a lie?

We anticipate some lively discussion at the Board of Supervisors meetings this week. We will be shocked if they approve the purchase of these vehicles at this time, but, not holding out breath either.


New Muni trains delivered with defective doors

By Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez : sfexaminer – excerpt

Rider caught in door, dragged onto tracks and hospitalized due to lack of vital safety mechanism

At least some of Muni’s newest light rail vehicles — part of its more than $1.1 billion future train fleet — appear to have been delivered with doors that clamp down and lock on objects and people, documents obtained by the San Francisco Examiner reveal.

That door defect may have seriously injured a Muni rider last week… (more)

Thankfully we still have a free press. Do we need more proof that the system is broken? This is not good news for the those who approved the fast-tracked purchase of the unpopular Siemens cars. Will use the one tool they have to curtail the SFMTA? Will the Board of Supervisors refuse to sign the SFMTA budget?

A public department that ignores the public it serves is not a well-run department. It appears the SFMTA wants speed and they riders want safety and comfort instead. The public demands better. Speed is not the answer.

Who at City hall stop this insanity? Who will admit to a coverup? Will someone finally fall on their sword and take the blame? How will SFMTA’s director and PR czar spin this one?

Will City Hall finally let the public speak for themselves and consider their wisdom? Thanks to everyone who tried to bring reason to the department that has no ears and uses its power and public funds to silence those who do speak out.

Muni Official: ‘Deep Concern’ About Operator Not Spotting Woman Caught in Train Door


Shared Electric Scooters Surge, Overtaking Docked Bikes

By Cathy Bussewitz : nbcbarea – excerpt

Love them or hate them, electric scooters are everywhere — zipping along city streets and littered on sidewalks, to the dismay of pedestrians and drivers who must share the road.

And now they have overtaken station-based bicycles as the most popular form of shared transportation outside transit and cars in the U.S… (more)

So, let’s cut out the expansion of the station-based bike shares. Let’s examine our public/private partnership agreements with Lyft over the Ford GoBikes. Request the documents that were supplied to the Board of Supervisors that lead them to approve the expansion. Who is signing up with GoBikes? How many are staying on those bikes once they try them and discover how they ride? Who is supplying the data?

The DMV nightmare: Report and tips from the (long) lines

By Reese Erlich : 48hills – excerpt

Perhaps you’ve heard the horror stories of people waiting five hours to renew their driver licenses at the always friendly California Department of Motor Vehicles? Well, there’s some good news. It’s down to three.

I don’t intend to analyze the myriad ways the state government has screwed up the DMV. Nor will I explain why the agency is seemingly unprepared for the new federal requirements to obtain a Real ID, which will be one form of identification accepted when boarding domestic flights after Oct 1, 2020…

My intention is to walk you through the DMV maze, avoid my mistakes and help you get through with a minimum of homicidal intentions towards the otherwise hard-working employees at the DMV.

Getting to the right window

First, make an advance appointment if you possibly can. And do it many months before your license expires. Mine expired in July, but when I went online, I couldn’t get an appointment until one week before my renewal date!… (more)

You know things are serious at the DMV when a journalist feels obligated to write an article to help you through the process.

Proposal to provide safe parking for RVs gains support

By Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez :sfexaminer – excerpt

Mayor promises $1M in funding for program to help homeless living in vehicles

It looks like the road is wide open for a City Hall proposal to create a “Safe Overnight Parking Program” for residents living in camper vans.

Legislation authored by Supervisors Vallie Brown and Ahsha Safai calls for The City to create a homeless navigation center for people living in RVs, and would decriminalize living in vehicles while San Francisco officials work to help people find housing.

Monday morning, Supervisor Hillary Ronen signed on as the eighth co-sponsor of Brown and Safai’s legislation, lending the proposal a veto-proof supermajority as it winds its way through various committees to the full Board of Supervisors, where it’s expected to be voted on within two weeks… (more)