SFMTA: Inaccurate NextBus Predictions Will Take ‘Weeks to Restore’

by Fiona Lee : hoodline – excerpt

Over the past week, SFMTA riders have been frustrated by inaccurate NextBus predictions and tracking at stops and on their apps. Many have been left to wait for a train or bus that never arrives, an issue that is still happening today.

Now, the SFMTA says that the inaccurate predictions that have been plaguing the NextMuni system, also known as NextBus, are expected to last several weeks.

“The inaccurate predictions are due to a technical issue that we’re working aggressively to resolve,” explained Paul Rose, spokesperson for the SFMTA. “At this point, we expect it will take at least a matter of weeks to restore and phase in all missing Muni predictions.”

The agency expects to have more information and provide a detailed timeline on when a fix will happen by early next week, he added…

The NextBus system is also expected to be updated in 2018 as part of a larger, comprehensive overhaul.

In the meantime, the SFMTA asks riders to check its Twitter account for the latest updates on delays. And to help riders better predict arrival times, the agency posted a frequency timetable for all Muni bus and rail lines at the end of its blog post today.

“We sincerely apologize for the inconvenience and understand how important this information is to Muni riders,” Rose said.

SFMTA spends money on tech not bus service. New union contracts are coming up. They will fight the unions but not the tech companies. Track their spending on NextBus and figure that for each million dollars they spend they could be putting another bus into service. At least that is what we were told when we asked how many buses they could have added to Mission Street instead of painting the street red.

BTW if you drive down Mission Street in the rain, or Church or any of the other painted streets, check out how hard it is to see the color at night in the rain. Let the SFMTA know whether you would prefer more buses or more paint and tech expenditures. Copy the Mayor and Supervisors on those messages.

“As someone pointed out, not everyone has a Twitter account” or a smart phone with an account that works everywhere for that matter.

 

Hoodline Highlights: Transit Riders Union Launches Ambitious ’30X30′ Muni Campaign

hoodline – excerpt

…30X30’s primary argument is that any part of San Francisco should be accessible via Muni in 30 minutes or less by the year 2030. According to the project’s preliminary website, “Muni is the slowest major urban transit system in the nation,” running at an average of 8.1 miles per hour… (more)

Before SFMTA started their efficiency programs, you used to be able to get anywhere in the city in 30 minutes or less. Before the SFMTA cut service on Valencia and other formerly well-served streets, you could get to Kaiser Hospital in less than 30 minutes from the Mission. Before SFMTA decided to slow traffic and remove parking spaces, you could get to any appointment in the city in 30 minutes or less. Before we had the invasion of the private monster shuttle buses, and out-of-town Uber and Lyft drivers, you could get anywhere in 30 minutes of less. Now, no mater how you try to get somewhere, unless you are taking BART or driving at night, you have no idea how long it may take.  Way to go SFMTA. You turned a beautiful town with a great traffic system into a nightmare for everyone. Do us all a favor, fire yourselves and let us go back to our former system that worked.

Sweeping Muni app prediction upgrade could wipe out ‘ghost bus’ problem

By Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez : sfexaminer – excerpt

Tens of thousands of San Francisco bus riders rely on NextMuni to time their trips, but The City has acknowledged the system can suffer from inaccuracies and what some call “ghost buses.”

That’s when the stated bus arrival time on a smartphone or on one of The City’s 867 NextMuni signs, says perhaps “5 minutes” away, for instance, and then suddenly disappears — no bus, no prediction — leaving riders stranded and confused.
Now, however, Muni’s “ghost buses” are about to get ghost-busted.

The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency is planning a $127 million overhaul of its radio systems and a new computer dispatch system, which the agency revealed in a recent small community meeting may also vastly improve its bus prediction system, known as NextMuni.

And perhaps — if NextBus is again chosen to partner with Muni in a public process — that new communication system may be coupled with an anticipated overhaul of the core NextBus service itself, which is sold by a third-party company, Cubic, to cities across the country…

The Save Muni group, including members Bob Feinbaum, Joan Wood and Gerald Cauthen, continued to pepper Walton and Stevenson with questions, revealing an intimate picture of how NextMuni would improve months before any formal announcement of such changes…(more)

Thanks to SaveMuni for uncovering the details of how Muni plans to fix the ghost bus problem. And thanks to Joe for bringing this to our attention. We hope all the “mays” will turn into “wills” at some point. Until then, we shall have to wait and see.

 

Report dings SFMTA over chronic absenteeism

By Jerold Chinn : sfbay – excerpt

Persistent problems with employees not showing up for work at the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency is laid out in a report by the City Controller’s Office that the transit agency requested the office to conduct.

According to the report, the SFMTA had the second highest employee absenteeism rate out of the 10 departments in The City with the largest budgets and spent approximately $42 million in leave pay during the 2013-2014 fiscal year.

Tonia Lediju, director of city audits, wrote in a letter to the SFMTA’s Board of Directors and Director of Transportation Ed Reiskin, on what the transit agency’s management was lacking in curbing chronic employee absenteeism:…

The report states that absence management program is key to minimize the negative effects of absences such as an increased in costs of unscheduled absences, increased pressure of other employees covering for absent employees and services not being delivered.

In this case, un-delivered services means canceled Muni runs, which cause longer wait times for passengers, the report said…

The public can read the full report on the controller’s office website(more)

Will the SFMTA follow the City’s Controller’s suggestions and deal  with the personnel problems that are at the root of the slow and missing service riders have been complaining about for years before sinking  more taxpayers dollars into more expensive, disruptive street projects  like the $350 million Geary BRT plan? Will the Supervisors consider delaying the decision to approve the most expensive solution until trying the cheaper sensible one first? Details on the citizens cheaper approach:
http://www.sfsensibletransit.org/

Solving personnel problems should be the first step they take.  Can they follow the Controller’s advice and do the right thing for once? Can the SFMTA serve the needs of the public and save the city from
further debt and traffic disruptions? Stay tuned…

Transit officials offer tweaks to Geary BRT project

By : sfexaminer – excerpt

A major overhaul of how buses and other traffic negotiate Geary Boulevard is set to reach a significant milestone early next year.

The Geary Bus Rapid Transit project, which aims to make buses behave like trains by repurposing a lane of car traffic exclusively for buses, released its final environmental impact report Dec. 9, which may be approved in early January.

Along the way, the project’s planners received thousands of public comments, from fiery verbal lambasting at meetings — where a box filled with paper public comments was stolen, then returned — to online surveys, to meetings with multitudes of community groups…

On Jan. 5, the EIR will go to the SFCTA board for approval. After that, the SFMTA will bring individual elements of the project to neighbors for further public input, which will require individual approvals by the SFMTA Board of Directors to move forward.

Some Geary Boulevard neighbors have asked the SFCTA commission to delay approval of the environmental report so they have more time to read and analyze it.

The San Francisco Chamber of Commerce also sent a letter to the transportation authority asking for the board to delay action on the final EIR until February or early March, and wrote that meeting during the holidays “does not serve the public interest.”

Responding to the request for delay, Supervisor and Transportation Authority Commissioner Eric Mar said, “The significant community outreach done and many community meetings with those in the audience, and staff work, has been years in the making.”.

“There have been endless delays,” he said…(more)

THERE IS NO RUSH! There have been endless delays for good reasons. Each time there is a delay, the public has more time to suggest a better plan. Already many of their suggestions have been incorporated into this project and more alterations are needed on the Geary BRT. There is a sensible much cheaper plan supported by the public.

Who is rushing to approve the SFMTA $350 million dollar plus Geary BRT Hybrid Plan when there is a much cheaper version that will save the taxpayers up to $300 million? Who is rushing to approve more money for the SFMTA?

This is the department has bungled the design at Glen Park twice and still hasn’t gotten it right yet. The buses are getting hung up on the curbs.

This is the department that is planning to cut service and raise rates for cash-paying riders, and remove seats from the new faster-moving buses, so that Muni riders will be forced to walk further and stand instead of sit as they speed along city streets on public transit vehicles.

This is the department that lost the sales tax increase that included $100 million dollars for the Geary BRT.

This is the department that needs to be put on a cash diet before it eats the rest of the businesses on Mission, Van Ness, Polk, and Geary.This is the department that can’t figure out how to balance Ubers with taxis and the rest of the traffic mess and will eventually be out teched out by self-driving cars.

This is the department that wants to tell our fire department to buy smaller vehicles to run on narrow streets that do not meet state standard widths.

The emergency responders are getting caught up in the traffic mess.

This is the department that just “discovered” the large number of Ubers on our streets that the rest of us have known about for months. They probably needed to conduct an expensive study to “find” them and prove they exist. We just looked around and figured it out for ourselves.I could go on, but you get the idea.

Stop the SFMTA: Write letters to request a delay and show up if you can to protest in person. Sample letter is here: https://discoveryink.wordpress.com/letters-and-comments/geary-brt/

Meeting details:

Scheduled for Wednesday, January 4, 6:00 PM, SFCTA, 1455 Market St., 22nd Floor: The Geary BRT Citizens Advisory Committee will vote to support certification of the Geary BRT Environmental Impact Report (EIR). More info: http://www.sfcta.org/geary-bus-rapid-transit-citizens-advisory-committee-january-4-2017

Scheduled for Thursday, January 5, 2:00 PM, Room 250, City Hall: SF Supervisors, as board members of the SF Transportation Authority, will vote to certify the Geary BRT EIR  (2nd item)  More Info: http://www.sfcta.org/special-board-january-5-2017

 

 

Muni Hackers Vow To Release 30GB Of Sensitive Data If Ransom Isn’t Paid

by Kevin Montgomery : hoodline – excerpt

The hackers behind the ransomware attack against Muni’s computer network this past weekend are continuing to escalate their threats against San Francisco’s transportation agency. Beyond controlling 2,112 of SFMTA computers, the hackers now claim to have stolen 30 gigabytes of sensitive departmental data and promise to release it if their demands are not met.

Yesterday, Hoodline learned the hackers, going by the pseudonym “Andy Saolis,” were demanding a 100 Bitcoin ($73,000) ransom to return control of nearly 25 percent Muni’s computer network.

The deadline for sending ransom payment passed early Monday morning—a point at which the hackers had previously claimed they would close their email account, leaving the department without a method to purchase the password to regain access to their network.

Instead, as the deadline passed, Saolis sent a canned statement to several media outlets, including Motherboard, the Examiner and Forbes, with new claims that they extracted information from department computers before encrypting them and locking Muni out.

“I hope Company Try to Fix it Correctly and We Can Advise Them But if they Don’t , We Will Publish 30G Databases and Documents include contracts , employees data , LLD Plans, customers and … to Have More Impact to Company To Force Them to do Right Job!,” Saolis wrote in an email sent to the media.

The hackers, who acknowledged they do not reside in the United States, did not specify what they meant by “LLD Plans.”

According to a list, obtained by Hoodline, of Muni’s machines currently encrypted by the hackers, Saolis likely has control of the department’s payroll service, email servers, Quickbooks, several MySQL database servers, and personal computers for hundreds of employees…(more)

MUNI D1 Candidates Pledge Challenge 11/7 Lunch Invite

See the explanation video: https://youtu.be/vDljxv8WzuI
Richmond district Seniors offer an invitation to lunch to all ten 2016 San Francisco Candidates for Richmond district Seniors offer an invitation to lunch to all ten 2016 San Francisco Candidates for Supervisor in the Richmond District (D1). The community hopes to gain agreement to not remove any bus stops on Geary Blvd due to Bus Rapid Transit (GearyBRT) should they win election.

Many of these seniors will be risking injury should they have to triple the distance they must walk in order to obtain special discounted meals served by Russian-Americans Community Services (R.A.C.S.) on Collins Street. Sign our petition to block GearyBRT funding at redcarpetmess.com

The seniors are requesting that the candidates join them for lunch to sign the pledge: “I pledge not to remove Geary Blvd Bus Stops @sfmta_muni #seniors4muni”

https://twitter.com/antoniowhite/status/794950312972779520

Red Lane Experiments

Where does the SFMTA get the right to put Red transit-only Lanes on Mission Street and how do we get rid of them if we don’t like them?

Caltrans CTCDC, (California Traffic Control Devices Committee) authorizes “experiments” on public streets. One of the Geary merchants attended one of their meetings on March 3, 2016 and expressed his concern over the red lane experiments. Since that meeting, many San Francisco citizens have written letters to the CTCDC opposing them.

Authority Questions : It seems that SFMTA does not have the right to just paint the streets red at will. The right to conduct experiments on our public streets is granted by CTCDC and comes with conditions, including requirements for timely execution and analysis of the effects of the tests.

Questions regarding the tests areas: When CTCDC Chair Greenwood inquired as to whether the installation of the red transit lanes had expanded beyond the areas approved by the committee Mr. White replied that the installation had been used specifically in the 24/7 lanes rather than the part-time lanes. I’m Not sure what that means, but, he went on to say the only place where the lanes had been expanded beyond those shown on the map was Market Street from Fifth to Third, for consistency.

Why did Mr. White fail to mention the red transit-only lanes on Mission Street south of 16th Street?  According to the map and list of allowable streets I have seen, this portion of Mission Street is not included in the experimental areas. We are looking forward to a December 6 meeting with the CTCDC in Sacramento. More on that later…(more)

Dangerous plan afoot to narrow and slow 16th Street traffic access to Mission Bay

The other day as I walked down 16th Street to the BART station I witnessed a traffic jam on 16th Street and shot some photos as the drama unfolded.  There was a repair truck stopped in back of the bus and three people directing traffic around it. There is a single East facing lane on 16th Street now and two West facing lanes so traffic may pass the broken bus without too much trouble now.

As you can see by looking at the photos, the traffic builds up rather fast when a lane is stopped. An ambulance came up 16th Street while I was there and it was directed around the stopped traffic, but stopping the other lane, but, I realized how difficult it would be to maneuver traffic around a broken bus if there was a BRT or separated lanes as the SFMTA plans for 16th Street.

Separated roadways, swerving traffic in narrow lanes do not slow traffic down it makes drivers mad and creates obstacles for the buses and larger vehicles. This is not a safe way to manage traffic.

Please stop this insane constant construction and destruction of our streets! Vote Yes on L and tell the SFMTA to back off. Leave the bus stops and return the service they cut. Stopsfmta.comStopsfmta.com

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SFMTA oversight

from SF Chronicle letters, 10/27/16 – excerpt

While walking down to Polk Street yesterday, I stopped to read a flyer taped to a pole and was once again reminded of the absolute power that the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency holds over the city. This flyer urged people to vote for a number of measures that The Chronicle has given a thumbs down to. One is Muni oversight.

After participating in a process of meetings and hearings on the Polk Streetscape Project, I was completely disheartened. The people of the neighborhood were barely heard. I was left with the impression that the SFMTA was going to do whatever it wanted, regardless. Now, they have big plans for Van Ness Avenue.

This elaborate plan is happening without question. Hundreds of trees will be cut down to enable this work. This act is a devastating tragedy in itself. I am afraid to think of how many more parking spaces will be eliminated. But this is part of the SFMTA’s Transit-First policy.

Forcing people out of their cars is a big agenda. The feeling I get is of a powerful city department that can ride roughshod over the people, devastate neighborhoods and the environment, answerable to no one. Scary. SFMTA needs oversight.

– Carol Drobek, San Francisco

Vote Yes on L!

When you compare the SFMTA Board meetings to the SF Planning Commission Meetings, you can see the difference having a more balanced board makes. The SFMAT Board meetings always end the same way. Whatever staff suggests is what the Board votes unanimously to do, regardless of what the public says. All members of the SFMTA Board are appointed by the Mayor. Proposition L would change that and at least 3 members of the Board would be appointed by the Board of Supervisors.

According to the Public Press, if proposition L passes, a new board would take form in June 2017. This is really important because there appears to be a plan to merge Planning and Transportation, meaning all the tricks the SFMTA has been playing with (or I should say on) the public, will be visited on us by the Planning Department soon if we don’t act now to stop it.

This is why huge amounts of money are being spent to stop DHL+M. But, we know better, don’t we? We are smarter than that. We are going to help spread this video:

We are are going to let people know they can vote for change at City Hall and take back our city and our streets! We are going to support Muni riders not contractors. We are going to bring back the service Muni riders want and ditch the techie gizmos SFMTA is buying instead. We are going to overhaul the entire program by putting people into office who will service us not tax and spent on programs we object to.