Rescue Muni opposes $5 F-Market fare, supports parking meter increases

January 19th, 2010

Rescue Muni unequivocally opposes the proposed $5 fare for the F-Market historic streetcar line.  We recognize that this is an extraordinarily difficult budget year, and that despite the recent fare increase, Muni is running short on money from other sources.  But the F-Market is one of the most cost-effective lines in the city, and other, better revenue options exist, not least of which are extending parking meter hours into Sundays and evenings.  We are unconvinced that these measures will hurt San Francisco’s economy.  Many cities—including cities with fewer transit options than San Francisco—keep their parking meters running on Sundays and weekends, and seem to suffer no ill effects from it.

Singling out a single line for a fare increase—and eliminating 313,000 service hours per year—shouldn’t even be considered in a “Transit First” city until all other options are exhausted.  They haven’t been.

We urge Rescue Muni members to attend today’s meeting of the MTA Board—2:00 p.m. at Room 400, City Hall—and let directors know that this plan is unacceptable, and that better options for closing the short-term revenue gap remain.

Update: Rick Laubscher of Market Street Railway has a very thoughtful letter in opposition to the $5 F-line.

Also: The Bike Coalition has a handy form to tell the Supervisors and the Mayor that you oppose higher fares and service cuts.

Don’t wait for the Culture Bus

August 17th, 2009

Don’t wait for the Culture Bus, because starting at 6PM today it will no longer be making its run between downtown and the museums. After 11 months and numerous service cuts, the Culture Bus line, known as the 74x, will finally go out of service, freeing valuable man power and bus resources to the cash-strapped SFMTA. Even cutting service to once and hour and raising fares to $10 for all day rides wasn’t enough to lure enough passengers.

Rescue Muni’s policy since this line’s inception was the immediate elimination of the 74x, and we’re glad to see it finally happen, but the loss of precious revenue to this program over these 11 months could have gone to stave off other Muni cuts.

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

April 20th, 2009

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!

    Chronicle: Muni pares back service on new $7 ride CultureBus line

    January 21st, 2009

    Culture Bus frontThe Culture Bus, a 1 year project that will cost Muni $1.6 million, has only 255 weekday riders, according to the Chronicle.  Known as the 74X-CultureBus, the line is intended to bring tourists and Muni regulars from downtown to the car-congested Academy of Sciences building that recently opened in Golden Gate Park.  The buses aren’t run like the rest of the fleet, the coaches are extra clean and the drivers have gone through additional customer service training, something that the rest of the Muni system could use more of.

    Service on the line has since been cut from 20 minutes to once an hour according to the article, but Rescue Muni has taken the position that this line should be terminated if it is not profitable within one month, especially in light of the city, state, and federal budget constraints.

    Endorsement Results

    October 14th, 2008

    At Wednesday’s meeting, members heard from the candidates and voted on our endorsements for the November election.  The following candidates have been officially endorsed by Rescue Muni:

    Board of Supervisors

    District 1 – Sue Lee

    District 3 – Joseph Alioto, Jr.

    District 5 – Ross Mirkarimi

    District 7 – Sean Elsbernd

    District 11 – Ahsha Safaí

    BART Board of Directors

    District 9 – Tom Radulovich

    YES on Proposition 1A (High Speed Rail Bonds)

    YES  on Proposition P (Transportation Authority Reform)

    Thank you to everyone—members and candidates alike—who participated in our endorsement process.  An additional endorsement may be forthcoming, pending Rescue Muni Board of Directors action.