Radical Muni changes fail to faze riders

Muni may have undergone its most radical service changes in over 30 years, but due to an extensive outreach campaign, rider reaction to the shake-up has been mostly subdued.

Monday marked the first workday since the changes went into effect Saturday, which affected over 60 percent of Muni’s transit lines and resulted in the elimination of six bus routes.

One of those discontinued routes, the 7-Haight, was a bus that 34-year-old San Francisco resident Felisa Yang frequently traveled on until this weekend. Yang said she was well-informed about the impending cut to service, and knew that she could take the 6-Parnassus or the 71-Haight/Noriega in the wake of the 7’s absence.

“I knew they were going to take away the 7, and I knew it wouldn’t affect me that greatly,” Yang said. “I have other options.”

Yang’s readiness for the changes was mirrored by other transit riders Monday. Ezekiel-Maurice Booker, a 60-year-old San Francisco resident, said he rides Muni about twice a week, and that he has experienced “no problems” since the service changes went into effect.

“They’ve done a pretty good job of reaching out to us,” Booker said. “I knew what to expect.”

Marilyn Preston said she had to wait a little longer than normal to catch a bus on Sutter and Sansome streets Monday, but otherwise, she was adjusting to the new service changes “just fine.”

Muni prepped for the big service changes by posting fliers on its transit vehicles, adding material to its Web site, reaching out to the media and dispatching “transit ambassadors” along various stops to inform the riding public.

While the transition has gone smoothly, it has not been without a few bumps in the road. Calls to The City’s 311 service center jumped by 40 percent over the weekend, Mayor Gavin Newsom said. However, the mayor said he was “stunned” by how few calls of concerns came to his office.

Muni Executive Director Nathaniel Ford said the agency hasn’t seen any “major issues” since the changes took root.

“The Muni folks stepped up to the challenge,” Ford said. “We’ve had no concerns or any delays of note.”

wreisman@sfexaminer.com

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