Think your bus is bad? Be thankful you don’t have to rely on Muni’s 76-Marin Headlands line.
The 76, Muni’s only line that goes into Marin County, has an on-time performance rate of 10 percent, often leaves passengers stranded for up to 90 minutes and doesn’t operate on Saturdays, a prime time to visit the scenic headlands.
Because of its many issues — namely the glut of stops in downtown San Francisco and a route that stretches 13 miles — the line only completes seven of its nine regularly scheduled runs on Sundays, its lone day of operation.
With a service picture as ugly as that, it should be no surprise that Muni is proposing to completely revamp the line, which serves 250 to 300 riders Sundays. As part of its long-running Transit Effectiveness Project, Muni plans to add Saturday service, eliminate 19 stops in downtown San Francisco and extend the route three-quarters of a mile to the Point Bonita Lighthouse. Muni has projected that the changes could erase 15 minutes of travel time in each direction.
Today, the board of directors of the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, which oversees Muni, will vote on the service change, which could start this month as part of a 24-month pilot project.
The study will provide important data about travel time savings and reliability improvements that will inform future implementation of TEP work around The City, said SFMTA spokesman Paul Rose.
The SFMTA originally planned to make the changes in 2015. However, the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, which includes the Marin Headlands, offered to chip in $235,000 to pay for the first 14 months of the service, said Darren Brown, a transportation planner with the park.
Brown said the 76-Marin Headlands is the only transit line that takes passengers directly to different points of the area. Along with reducing the impact of private vehicles in the park, the service changes could introduce visitors to features that are only open Saturdays, such as the Nike Missile Site, a weapons facility built during the Cold War.
Ron Austin, a spokesman for the Transport Workers Union Local 250-A, which represents Muni operators, said his organization would welcome any service change that increases ridership on the line.
“This is a great service, and the line definitely has its share of regular riders,” Austin said. “This looks like a good proposal. I would just hope that the SFMTA reviews the elimination of stops to make sure they don’t hurt accessibility.”
Fewer than 20 percent of the line’s riders board in downtown San Francisco, according to SFMTA data. The agency will review the project after the pilot period to determine if tweaks need to be made — including increasing service from every hour to every 30 minutes.