An honest reply from BART's Twitter account last week about the transit agency's faulty infrastructure made national headlines.

BART gets real on social media; now it’s Muni’s turn

BART’s brutal honesty about its budget shortfalls went viral across the country last week, and now it’s Muni’s turn to step into the social media spotlight.

BART suffered electrical troubles last Wednesday in the East Bay, which sent 50 malfunctioning trains out of service and spawned the usual social media anger.

This time, though, BART tweeted something unexpected to its critics: honesty.

“BART was built to transport far fewer people, and much of our system has reached the end of its useful life. This is our reality,” the agency tweeted to its detractors and 135,000 followers.

The direct tone from a public agency spawned coverage from The New York Times, which called it “extreme candor.” A headline from national blog Gawker proclaimed, “Wow – Finally Some Honesty From Government.”

Now, the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency may have a lofty new bar to live up to, in terms of government frankness.

An honest reply from BART's Twitter account last week about the transit agency's faulty infrastructure made national headlines.
An honest reply from BART’s Twitter account last week about the transit agency’s faulty infrastructure made national headlines.

The agency, which runs Muni and manages San Francisco’s streets, has a planned “webinar” at 11 a.m. Monday on its 2017-18 budget.

That budget is $1 billion large, but the agency is anticipating a shortfall of $13.6 million in 2017.

The webinar will allow live digital interaction from Muni riders with the SFMTA, which is soliciting feedback on proposals to save money and speed up service.

Ever wanted to ask the guy who runs Muni some questions? Well, now’s the chance. According to the SFMTA, the webinar will be headed by SFMTA Director of Transportation Ed Reiskin – The City’s top Muni official.

The agency’s outreach materials also suggest the public can voice chat via computer or call by phone to ask questions about budget proposals.

The webinar may be a chance to comment on the budget for people who are unable to attend the mostly midday SFMTA Board of Directors meetings.

Among the new budget proposals are offering a 25-cent discount to those who use Clipper Cards instead of cash, redefining youth for certain Muni discounts from 17 to 18, raising fares on seniors and those with disabilities who receive discounts, and increasing the cost of monthly passes that include BART access by five dollars.

One set of costs is not changeable — the “automatic indexed” fare increases.

In 2017 and 2018, Muni will increase most fares, which, by law, rise with inflation. Adult fast passes with BART access will jump from $83 this year to $89 by 2018, according to the SFMTA.

The SFMTA budget webinar is slated for Monday, March 21, from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. To sign up, visit www.sfmta.com/budgetwebinar.

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