MTA board meeting on budget Tuesday, 4/21, 2 pm; Rescue Muni recommendations

SFMTAThe SFMTA will be holding another meeting and public hearing on the budget deficit and proposed fare increases/service cuts on Tuesday, April 21, at 2 pm, at City Hall, room 400. We urge everyone who can attend (of course it is scheduled during the work day) to comment on the proposals.

In addition to opposing the inflated “work orders” from the various city departments that are now being contested (thank you Sup. Dufty!), Rescue Muni has some specific recommendations:

  • As with every time budget deficits come up, we support increasing meter and garage rates to market level, to make sure that SF maintains its transit-first policy and to encourage transit use.
  • We reiterate our longstanding opposition to cutting maintenance as a way to close the deficit. In other words, Muni must not allow service to deteriorate into unplanned service cuts.
  • Service changes should include stop consolidations systemwide in order to minimize the impact of the cuts. While this won’t prevent service cuts altogether, when vehicles make a run in less time, Muni can make more runs with the same vehicle. The fiscal emergency should present an opportunity to avoid an EIS/EIR for this sort of rational service change.
  • Similarly, the MTA should convert more Locals to Limiteds as proposed in the TEP, which will serve more riders with the same service hours and also provide faster service.
  • We oppose charging for transfers as this will slow boarding and inconvenience cash fare paying riders who happen to need to take multiple vehicles. Similarly, we oppose charging for expresses – this was unsuccessful previously.
  • No cuts to Owl service – though ridership is low, this is a lifeline service that discourages drunk driving, particularly on weekends.
  • But the Culture Bus should be discontinued immediately due to low ridership and very high operating cost.
  • Concerning the Work Orders, we have several objections:

  • SFGH Charges to Muni must stop. In addition to being unrelated to MTA operations, these charges are also possible City admissions of liability.
  • If MTA is really paying $2 per 311 call, the MTA should encourage riders to use 511. Particularly if/when Muni puts signage up ID’ing stop numbers such signage should encourage 511 calls as appropriate.
  • SFPD: Police MUST submit complete work orders for the charges, not budget estimates. Also, the city should put the traffic cops under direct MTA control (a proposal that looks like it might happen).
  • We also suggest that MTA consider the following proposals for long term improvements:

  • Cash fare should be payable by Translink, perhaps at a slight discount from full cash price, to encourage purchase and faster boarding. At long last Translink appears to be working well, and the MTA should promote it.
  • Lifeline Pass: Riders who are eligible for Medi-Cal or Food Stamps should be eligible for the Lifeline Pass at South Van Ness. There is no need for MTA to hire the Human Services department to separately check eligibility for a $20 monthly discount.
  • If you attend, comment here or let us know on Twitter!