Muni putting service back in gear

After four months of crowded buses and trains, slower service and earlier last runs, many of the recent Muni service reductions will be restored starting Saturday.

Faced with bulging budget deficits, the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, which operates Muni, slashed service 10 percent May 8 as a way to save $28.8 million annually. The move meant longer waits and more crowded vehicles, and it was widely disparaged by lawmakers, transit advocates and riders.

Spurred on by the public backlash, the SFMTA cobbled together enough money through one-time funding allocations, employee scheduling efficiencies and agency cost savings to restore 61 percent of the cuts.

As a result, the agency will begin offering late-night Owl service every 30 minutes instead of every hour, along with running local community routes later into the night and adding extra buses to the busiest lines.

And the service restorations will allow for more-frequent night service on several bus lines.

“I am pleased that we have been able to leverage the funds from our transportation partners to make real improvements for Muni customers,” said Nathaniel Ford, the SFMTA’s executive director.

“The service restorations are a start, but there is still a long way to go,” said Dave Snyder, project director for the San Francisco Transit Riders Union, an organization that represents Muni passengers.

Snyder said the biggest complaint among riders was the early end times on many of the bus routes.

“You couldn’t go to a show at night and take Muni home,” Snyder said. “That’s not transit-first, that’s transit-last.”

The SFMTA is set on bringing back 61 percent of its cut service Saturday, but the agency is working with Mayor Gavin Newsom and members of the Board of Supervisors to develop a plan to eventually restore all recent reductions.

Newsom and board President David Chiu said that by Dec. 1, they will have a proposal to bring back all the service cuts in May.

Where to expect Muni restorations

The SFMTA is bringing back many of the cuts to service it made in the past year to save money.

Owl lines with service being restored to every 30 minutes

L
N
22
90
91

Community routes with later night runs

17-Parkmerced
37-Corbett
67-Bernal Heights
Five others

Local and rapid routes with later night runs

F-Market
19-Polk
43-Masonic
54-Felton
Six others

Lines with more vehicles to reduce weekday crowding

1-California
5-Fulton
24-Divisadero
43-Masonic
52-Excelsior
19 others

Lines with greater frequency at night

14-Mission
31-Balboa
44-O’Shaughnessy
49-Van Ness/Mission
Five others

Lines with more vehicles to reduce weekend crowding

8X/AX/BX-Bayshore Express buses
30-Stockton
45-Union/Stockton

Source: SFMTA

wreisman@sfexaminer.com

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