Arbitrator: Contract stands

June 14th, 2011

An independent arbitrator has ruled that the contract agreed to by the SFMTA and the TWU Local 250A leadership, but rejected by the membership, must stand. There have been some veiled threats of a strike or shutdown as a result, but so far no explicit action.

SF Weekly also covered this.

TWU 250A members reject proposed contract

June 9th, 2011

An arbitrator will now decide what the contract terms will be between the SFMTA and the Transport Workers Union Local 250A (transit operators), now that the TWU membership has rejected the proposed memorandum of understanding arrived at last week with the SFMTA. The SF Appeal and SF Weekly also have coverage.

We look forward to hearing the arbitrator’s decision. Under Prop G, the arbitrator must consider the impact of any decisions on the quality of service – a provision the union has bitterly fought. In addition to cost savings, the proposed contract contained provisions that should help service, specifically the option to add part-time operators to cover rush hour service; we shall see if the arbitrator agrees that these provisions are needed for more reliable transportation in SF.

Update: Rumors of labor action are already starting.

Our stance on the N-Judah Express (Nx)

June 8th, 2011

On June 13th, the SFMTA will begin express service for the N-Judah to supplement existing street car service during rush hour. During our May 23rd board meeting, we decided that while we applaud the MTA’s attempt to address over-crowding and early turn-backs, the $1.8m annual cost to run the express bus service is not the best use of money during a fiscal crisis.

We voted to recommend that instead of using the funds for additional service, Muni couple 3 car trains along the N-Judah line and run the existing service, which would increase capacity for a trivial additional cost. With the $1.8m that would have gone to the Nx bus, Muni could install and implement signal priority between Duboce & Church all the way to Carl & Cole, along with a signal at the UCSF garage and 19th Ave. All these changes could be made for less than $1.8m, and provide a long-term solution to the N’s on-time rate and capacity issues.

While Muni is going ahead with the Nx bus, SFMTA’s Transit Director John Haley will go ahead and pilot 3 car trains, which could be a small future victory for N-Judah riders.