Muni officials diverted buses from routes across The City Tuesday night to bolster service for those attending events at the Chase Center and Oracle Park. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)

Muni officials diverted buses from routes across The City Tuesday night to bolster service for those attending events at the Chase Center and Oracle Park. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)

Muni offers free bus rides after diverting Bayview buses to Chase Center

Agency pledges not to cut service on ‘equity routes’ serving poor communities

Muni is offering free rides Thursday and Friday night on bus lines that saw service shortages when the agency diverted operators to a Chase Center concert during commute hours.

The agency also pledged to no longer divert service from “equity” bus routes serving poor communities and communities of color in order to bolster Chase Center shuttles.

Those operators were diverted from multiple lines where they were intended to shore-up absences, said the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency. That includes the 8-Bayshore, 8AX and 8BX lines, bus routes with 33,000 daily riders serving neighborhoods with significant Chinese and black communities.

When he first heard of the cuts to bus service, Supervisor Shamann Walton, who represents The City’s southeast, called the move “racist.”

“I wouldn’t call it a win,” Walton said of SFMTA’s latest announcement. “I would say it’s helpful for tonight and tomorrow and provides some relief to riders.”

However, Walton said, “there is much more to do to guarantee that this doesn’t continue.” He promised to work with his colleagues on the Board of Supervisors and SFMTA to seek permanent solutions.

SFMTA issued their statement Thursday morning, a day after the San Francisco Examiner first reported the Bayview bus diversion. SFMTA struck a defensive tone, arguing that those diverted operators were a small portion of overall service across The City.

The agency is experiencing an operator shortage, they said, and had asked Muni operators to volunteer in their off-time to drive supplemental Chase Center service. When none volunteered, they diverted operators from other lines.

The agency did not apologize in the statement.

However, SFMTA did offer free Muni rides between 5 p.m. and midnight on Thursday and Friday on the 8-Bayshore, 8AX, 8BX, 19-Polk, 38-Geary and 38R-Geary Rapid lines, reflective of the evening commutes affected by riders.

Notably, many Muni commuters use pre-paid monthly passes on Clipper cards. Those free rides would not benefit them.

Queena Chen and Jon Hee, co-chairs of the Chinatown Transportation Research and Improvement Project, an advocacy group, sounded a hopeful tone.

“We would like to thank SFMTAfor your commitment to the Muni Equity Strategy,” they wrote. “We’re pleased to hear that going forward, Muni equity lines won’t be impacted by the Chase Center.”

However, Chinatown TRIP wrote, they feel Muni can “do better.”

The 8-Bayshore lines are often “packed, late, or missing altogether,” a frequent complaint the group hears from the Asian Pacific Islander community.

Reacting to the Examiner’s coverage of buses diverted from the 8-Bayshore to Chase Center, everyday Muni riders sounded off on social media.

“Is this why I waited 31 minutes for the 8 last night to get home?!?” wrote Twitter user @MadMaxFlapper, “along with elders, tired parents, babies?” That Muni rider then tweeted photos of 8-Bayshore waits of 50 minutes and 63 minutes at their bus stop.

joe@sfexaminer.com

Bay Area Newssan francisco newsTransit

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

Demonstrators commemorated the life of George Floyd and others killed by police outside S.F. City Hall on June 1, 2020.<ins></ins>
Chauvin verdict: SF reacts after jury finds ex-officer guilty on all charges

San Franciscans were relieved Tuesday after jurors found a former Minneapolis police… Continue reading

San Francisco Unified School District Board member Faauuga Moliga, right, pictured with Superintendent Vincent Matthews on the first day back to classrooms, will be board vice president for the remander of the 2121 term. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Faauuga Moliga named as school board vice president to replace Alison Collins

The San Francisco school board on Tuesday selected board member Fauuga Moliga… Continue reading

Legislation by Supervisor Rafael Mandelman would require The City to add enough new safe camping sites, such as this one at 180 Jones St. in the Tenderloin, to accomodate everyone living on the street. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
City would create sites for hundreds of tents under new homeless shelter proposal

Advocates say funding better spent on permanent housing

An instructor at Sava Pool teaches children drowning prevention techniques. (Jordi Molina/ Special to the S.F. Examiner)
Indoor city pools reopen for lap swimming and safety classes

Two of San Francisco’s indoor city pools reopened Tuesday, marking another step… Continue reading

A construction worker rides on top of materials being transported out of the Twin Peaks Tunnel as work continues at West Portal Station on Thursday, August 16, 2018. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
SFMTA’s poor track record on capital projects risks losing ‘public trust’

Supervisors say cost overruns and delays could jeapordize future ballot revenue measures

Most Read