Muni officials: Despite ‘rare’ glitch, buses are safe

By Jerold Chinn : sfbay -excerpt

Despite a computer glitch that led a Muni 3-Jackson trolley bus to crash into a parked vehicle late Monday morning, transit officials say the trolley buses are safe.

Initial reports said Monday’s crash, which occurred near Jackson and Scott streets, was caused by failing brakes. However, a memo obtained by The San Francisco Examiner states the incident was actually caused by a malfunctioning computer system on the bus that was unable to communicate with the brakes.

John Haley, director of transit for the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, wrote in the memo to Mayor Ed Lee and the directors of the SFMTA board that when the operator applied the foot break, it should have sent a signal to the traction motor to decelerate, but it did not.

Haley continued to cite in the memo that when the operator activated the parking brake valve, it should have also activated the same traction motor to reduce power, but that did not happen either…

One Muni operator who spoke to the Examiner under anonymity said it’s not uncommon to lose steering and the ability to break while in restrictive mode. According to the operator, this has happened at least 10 times and is a “danger for you and your passengers.”

Other operators reiterated the same story, reported the Examiner. Brake failures are another problem operators said they experience on the trolley buses.

However, Rose said if a trolley bus has battery power, steering should continue to work. He countered that the bus does not lose the brakes in restrictive mode, which transit officials confirmed with SFMTA mechanics Friday morning.

The transit agency looked at recent incidents involving restrictive mode and found that none of them involved a collision or put passengers at risk, said Rose….(more)


Muni to replace malfunctioning buses after computer error led to crash

By sfexaminer – excerpt

A computer error that cut signals to the brakes was found to be the culprit in a Monday morning Muni bus crash, and the San Francisco Examiner has learned that other braking problems may be widespread in the same type of bus, the most decrepit in Muni’s fleet.

Such revelations were highlighted in a document obtained by the Examiner and based on the experiences of Muni drivers who spoke under the condition of anonymity…

The cause of the crash was revealed in a memo leaked to the Examiner. The SFMTA later provided the memo to the Examiner following inquiries based on its information…(more)


Muni bus fatally hits bicyclist in downtown San Francisco

By Steve Rubenstein : sfgate – excerpt

One bicyclist was killed and another seriously injured in two separate accidents that occurred within a half-hour in downtown San Francisco on Sunday afternoon.

A bicyclist on a silver mountain bike was caught between two Muni buses and was then fatally struck and wedged beneath a westbound articulated Muni bus on Market Street west of Battery Street, police said. That accident occurred around 3:30 p.m…

Shortly after 4 p.m., a cyclist was involved in an accident with a horse trailer being pulled by a truck at Embarcadero and Chestnut Street, police said. The unidentified cyclist, a 46-year-old woman, was taken to San Francisco General Hospital. Details of that accident and the extent of her injuries were not immediately known… (more)

Number of ‘Google Bus Stops’ grow, even in the west, activists say

By : sfexaminer – excerpt

Where the “Google buses” go, evictions follow.

And those private shuttles are expanding all across The City, with more than 20 new stop locations and over 900 more annual pickups made by shuttles so far in 2015, compared to last year, according to new data.

Those are the assertions of the Anti-Eviction Mapping Project and some advocates suing San Francisco and various tech companies. The goal of the suit is to compel an environmental review of the Commuter Shuttle Pilot Program, which legalized private commuter shuttle activity.

The data on the growing number of private commuter shuttles, nicknamed “Google buses” comes via public records requests of the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency by activist Sue Vaughan.

Vaughan is one of the litigants in the lawsuit, along with local activist Sara Shortt and the local SEIU.

Mapping project activist Erin McElroy famously protested a Google Bus in 2013, along with groups like Heart of the City, demanding Google and other tech companies help stem evictions.

“We found that evictions were up 69 percent more in proximity to [shuttle] stops between 2011 and 2013,” McElroy said, adding the newer commuter shuttle stops would likely bring higher rents and evictions.

The mapping project also released an interactive map last week, showing new commuter shuttle stops in the west and south ends of San Francisco:

When the San Francisco Examiner asked SFMTA if they had studied the correlation between evictions and shuttle stops, they said questions should be referred to the Planning Department.

Gina Simi, a spokeswoman for the Planning Department, said “This isn’t something that would fall under Planning’s jurisdiction or analysis.”

As previously reported by the Examiner, public documents show the SFMTA is working hand-in-hand with the Planning Department to exempt The City from conducting environmental impact reports, which may include measuring community displacement effects…. (more)

The SFMTA is using our tax dollars to hire lobbyists in Sacramento, and possibly Washington to change the laws in favor of the tech buses. This is especially concerning because no other city has this problem that we know of.

Please let us know if there are other cities, particularly in California that have tech buses.

A gentrification report came out, or was discovered on twitter this week that shows a strong correlation between the transit-oriented development and gentrification that further proves the point many have been making for some time.

The goal is to build, not build a green or clean city. Just build, and any story, no matter how true, will do to get that next project approved and shift the demographic in San Francisco to one that can be easily controlled.

The question that arises out of this realization is: Should the regional transportation agency be elected?

Tech bus drivers forced to live in cars to make ends meet
Scott Peebles drives employees to their jobs at Apple, the wealthiest tech company in the world, yet he can’t afford a place to live. (so he lives in his van.)

New Muni changes may leave Lake Merced residents stranded

By : sfexaminer – excerpt (includes map)


Far out in San Francisco’s western and southern neighborhoods lies the “Outerlands.”

As the crow flies, they’re not so distant from The City’s urban core. But a lack of direct connection to BART, Muni’s train lines and Muni’s main commuter buses, make the so-nicknamed Outerlands feel worlds away from the rest of San Francisco, residents say.

Amid this transportation drought the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency announced new transit increases on the west side as part of its Muni Forward plan.

For those living south of Lake Merced, however, the changes are a double-edged sword.

Residents say the re-routes will further distance them from downtown, stranding them at the southern tip of the lake.
Hundreds in the southern and westernmost corner of San Francisco will soon lose access to the 18-46th Avenue line, a crucial connector between Lake Merced and more robust transit options near Stonestown Mall.

Starting Sept. 26, the 18-46th Avenue will reroute to better serve Lowell High School and the dense neighborhoods near Sloat Boulevard.

Route changes to 18-46th Avenue and 57-Park Merced lines
•The 57 Parkmerced will run every 20 minutes instead of 30 minutes.
•The 18 46th Ave will run every 20 minutes instead of 25 minutes on weekends.

Lake Merced will connect to Daly City BART
•The 57 Parkmerced will pick up and drop off at Daly City BART.
•18-46th Avenue customers along Lake Merced will now be served by 57 Parkmerced.

57 Parkmerced customers on 19th Avenue from SF State to Stonetown, use the 28/28R 19th Avenue… (more)


The map shows clearly the concerns of a defunct system capacity wise needing change. The problem is how much change is needed, and who did not pony-up when prior asked to resolve the concerns. (Developers/Institutions/Business Interests)

We stated clearly in past memo’s and submitted documents that their is a distinct need to solve the major jumps, and missing connectivity on the city’s SW and SE corners. 19th Ave and 101 @ Candlestick up through the hospital curve both require more solid planning transit work.

The SFSU-CSU masterplan increased enrollment, reduced shuttle services and left 60-80 people in line for shuttles daily. The SFSU team painted the poles purple and yellow at the prior Parkmerced/SFSU-CSU stop, not much more was done to improve two-sided access to the platform and the overwhelming crush that occurs there daily.

The Lake Merced area is completely underserved, while Parkmerced pressures to build alongside the 800 Brotherhood way developments at 19th and Brotherhood there is no significant planning efforts that produce up front changes to connect link and loop the transit systems to provide these areas with secondary connectivity to major transit hubs.

Parkmerced’s changes strand seniors further from the main line, and reduce access to the disabled. The Parkmerced changes wait 30-40 years to do the connectivity needed across brotherhood way and to any future intermodal facility at Daly City BART.

The L-Taraval shown on the map shows how short a distance it would be to connect direct up Sloat Blvd. the L line and possibly link it along Lake Merced Blvd. out to Daly City and possibly back up John Daly Blvd. as a Bi-County project to improve cross county traffic concerns. Even routing it up Brotherhood Way or looping it around the lake to the Pomeroy Center, Golf Course, and housing areas, would make sense even if a secondary system around the lake.

Development of many sites in D10 requires more adequate public transit systems to solve the accessible issues for many low-income families needing to get downtown or across town for jobs and schools. Meanwhile the SFMTA/SFCTA propose BRT transit along Geneva when its already obviously clear the LRV route is needed sooner and not later, with proposed projects, cummalative impacts, and the new projects near Balboa Park Station that will bottle up the access to any future planned intermodal facility at this location near the Geneva Car-Barn and major highway access areas of the SE-SW corridor.

The systemic problem is that we need funding, and we also need resolve. We need a bit more creativity in solving the problems, and a stronger will to not just take a developer’s plan as the holy-grail, but make sure we vet the suggested options and alternatives that can provide these residents and existing neighborhoods with the proper public transit levels needed.

Its not out of the financial possibility to get our systems in such a small city up to par, it just will take the public demanding that the city is not adequately serving the public’s needs and put the focus on the planners to get those links, loops and connections in the system built first, and not post more subway tunneling that may drain funds for outside areas of SF at the behest of downtown interests.

Taxation of business, institutional growth (SFSU-CSU), and market rate housing development is critical to ensuring that the developers don’t rely on the public taxation to fund their growth.

Raise the tax amount by 50% over the currently submitted amounts proposed by the SF Planning Commissioners, its time we think about the cities future, and if we will strand the public and force them to take cars, or adequately plan for a system-wide improvement especially in districts currently under-served by the system.


Aaron Goodman D11 Resident

Finding a home on Hotel 22

By Isabel Angell : KALW – excerpt (audio)

I’m on the Valley Transportation Authority’s Line 22 bus somewhere between East San Jose and Palo Alto. It’s 2:30 a.m., and it’s raining. I start a conversation with a man sitting down, and ask him if he’s heard the nickname for the bus.

“Yeah, well there’s the Motel 22 or Hotel 22. That’s the big one I’ve heard.”

I ask him what he calls the bus.

“I call it home.”… (more)

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)

Increased advertising on Muni buses approved despite criticism

by : sfexaminer – excerpt

The number of Muni buses that can legally have wraparound advertisements was doubled by San Francisco supervisors Tuesday, despite objections that the banners would degrade rider experience.

After about a half-hour of debate, the Board of Supervisors voted 6-5 to approve a 15-year contract with Titan Outdoor LLC. The agreement includes a controversial provision that increases the number of permitted advertising wraps, the type of banners that cover the entirety of a bus including its windows, from 15 buses to 30 at any given time. The wraps are most popular between September and December. The contract initially allowed digital ads, but that provision was removed.. (more)

SF plans to charge tech buses for using Muni stops in pilot program

by : sfexaminer – excerpt

Weeks after anti-displacement organizers on two instances blockaded commuter buses with tech workers from leaving The City, transit and city officials on Monday formally announced an 18- month pilot program allowing shuttle providers to use select Muni stops for a fee.
The proposal, which will be taken to the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency on Jan. 21, would allow the shuttles to use 200 of the more than 2,500 stops in Muni’s system for $1 per stop per day.
“The basic idea here is, [shuttle] providers want to access the Muni stops and currently only Muni buses are legally allowed to use bus stops,” said transit agency director Ed Reiskin… (more)