Muni practice of turning around early irritates bus riders 

With a route that nearly spans the length of San Francisco, from South of Market to the Excelsior, Muni’s 14-Mission line is one of the transit agency’s longest. That is why it can be such a pain for riders who are dropped off before their preferred stop.

In an effort to make up for scheduling shortfalls, the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency has recently been cutting short its route on the 14 line, a development that has irked passengers.

SFMTA spokesman Paul Rose said the practice — called switching back — is commonly used by other transit providers. By redirecting its vehicles, and dropping off passengers, Muni can make up for major scheduling gaps at other points in the system. Rose said Muni only employs the practice at the end segment of its routes, when
ridership dwindles.

However, Ryan Thayer, an Excelsior district resident, disputed that claim.

Thayer, a member of the neighborhood organization Excelsior Action Group, said he was heading inbound on a 14-Mission bus Thursday when the driver unexpectedly stopped on 16th Street — the middle of the route — and turned around to travel outbound.

“There was a lot of confusion because the driver gave us no explanation whatsoever,” Thayer said. “People didn’t really know what was going on.”

District Supervisor John Avalos said he has received similar complaints from other residents, and as a result he has asked to call a hearing on the practice of switchbacks on the line.

Per Avalos’ request, the SFMTA will make a presentation about its 14-Mission service to a subcommittee of the San Francisco County Transportation Authority, a local planning body that is governed by the Board of Supervisors.

Supervisor Carmen Chu recently convened a similar meeting to discuss concerns about switchbacks on the N-Judah line. Following the hearing, the SFMTA said it would only perform switchbacks if there was another train that would arrive within five minutes.

Along with detailing its switchback practices Tuesday, SFMTA officials will discuss the possibility of extending service on the 14-Mission to BART’s Daly Citystation.

Avalos, who is requesting the extension, said connecting to BART could save Excelsior residents up to 20minutes on their downtown commute.

Sam Brand, a frequent rider on the 14-Mission line, said she likes the idea of extending the route to Daly City.
“That would definitely give me more travel options with public transit,” Brand said.

wreisman@sfexaminer.com

Turning around

32,849: Daily passengers on Muni’s 14-Mission line
222: Passengers who disembark at southern terminus on San Jose Avenue and Mission Street
95: Passengers who disembarkat northern terminus onMission and Steuart streets
700,000: Total dailypassengers on Muni

Source: SFMTA

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