October 30, 1996

First Organizational Meeting


I Introductions: Founders and Founding Volunteers 5 minutes

II Fundamental Principles of RESCUE Muni 5 minutes

III RESCUE Muni Buttons/Cards 5 minutes

IV Presentation of Committees 10 minutes

V Member Sign-up for Committees 15 minutes

VI Committee Organizational Meeting 20 minutes

Principles of RESCUE Muni

I The lack of clear, concise, correct, and informative communication by Muni is a major cause of frustration by riders that can be improved at no or little cost.

II Application of common sense and creative changes to the management of Muni vehicles can significantly improve operating efficiency and service provided to riders at no or little cost.

III Maintenance of streetcars must be a top priority as one car having a break problem can easily disrupt the commute of a thousand riders in the Metro subway. Maintenance of vehicles in general is key.

IV The slow average speed of the Muni system must be increased so that each vehicle and operator can make more roundtrips per day, providing more seats to the riding public at no additional cost.

V The continuing destruction of Muni shelters, persistent graffiti, shattered vehicle windows, playing of portable stereos, and intimidating behavior towards operators and riders by a small percentage of riders creates an atmosphere on the Muni system that repulses a significant segment of the population that would otherwise use Muni more.

VI Fragmentation of authority and responsibility for Muni within San Francisco's system of government has been a significant cause of its decline as well as frustration among the riding public. When everyone is responsible, no one is responsible. RESCUE Muni supports efforts such as those of SPUR's Muni Stakeholders Workshops that would make Muni an agency separate from City Hall.

VIII In addition to the management, morale, and communication problems RESCUE Muni seeks to address immediately, Muni has suffered a real decline in its budget since the late 1980's. Unlike other Bay Area transit systems, Muni is dependent upon the General Fund of a city for a substantial amount of its budget. Dedicated, stable funding for Muni must be provided for the system to be able to meet the needs of San Francisco into the next century.

RESCUE Muni Committees


Registration and Finance: Establish/manage legal nonprofit status of RESCUE Muni as a nonprofit civic group; responsibility for collection and management of budget.

Meetings and Membership: Organize and prepare for meetings; Prepare summaries of meetings; Expand and manage membership. Prepare newsletter as needed.

Web Page: RESCUE Muni needs to keep its Internet site fresh and informative. Maintaining the bloopers page will be a task in itself. A "Marvelous Muni" page should also be started to present the success stories of Muni and its employees doing a perfect job.

RESCUE MUNI Stunts: Creative promotion of RESCUE Muni goals; Buttons, T-shirts, creative lyrics to "Rescue Me" song.

Media Relations: Establish and manage relations with print, radio, and television reporters covering San Francisco transit issues.


Coverage of Local Government Meetings: RESCUE Muni must have coverage of all meetings with implications for use of transit in S.F. This includes meetings of the Public Transportation Commission, Parking and Traffic Commission, S.F. Transportation Authority, Board of Supervisors, and Metropolitan Transportation Commission.

Coverage of Federal/State Activities: The federal and state government both play significant roles in what kind of transit system Muni will be. Funding of transit service is the major issue with the flexibility of whether funds can be used for operation versus only capital additions as an important element. Understanding laws regarding the ability to privatize service, if all else fails to improve Muni, is also essential.

Liaison with Other Groups: RESCUE Muni should seek to inform other San Francisco community groups of our presence and purpose; we should work in collaboration with groups where interests align. This includes San Francisco Planning and Urban Research Association, S.F Tomorrow, Sierra Club Joint Transportation Committee, Gray Panthers, student groups (secondary and college), and neighborhood groups. Contacts with regional, state-wide, and national pro-transit groups must also be established.


Benchmarking: This committee will establish key measures that can be used to compare Muni's management & labor performance against the best-run transit systems in North America such as Vancouver, Toronto, Seattle, Indianapolis, etc. Among measures that may be useful are average use of sick leave, absenteeism, rate of complaints, and availability of vehicles for service. Where cross-system measures are not available, internal measures may be useful, i.e., improvement against current stats. The extent of quality training available to and required of Muni personnel such as operators and station agents should be compared with other systems.

Muni Monitoring: RESCUE Muni believes the public may be reassured in Muni if feedback, especially complaints, were collected by an independent office. RESCUE Muni can help to fill that hole by collecting data on Muni's service from its members. Collecting and analyzing this data will provide RESCUE Muni with information as to continuing problem lines as well as lines that work well. Another important task is to survey those who have left Muni or use it less. Exactly what can RESCUE Muni help Muni do to attract them back? Members can also meet in small groups by self-identifying with which lines they are most concerned.

Security Issues on Muni: This group has responsibility for dealing with RESCUE Muni principle V. Comparative studies should be made of the police presence on other comparable transit systems.

Muni Maintenance: Muni has the oldest fleet of electric trolleys and streetcars of any major system in the U.S. It's maintenance facilities are said to be sub-par. As new streetcars and trolleys are still several years away, a key component of a better Muni would be to reduce vehicle breakdowns. RESCUE Muni principle III is the responsibility of this committee. Funding for improved maintenance facilities may be one element the people of San Francisco can support if the MTC does not provide San Francisco with adequate capital funding.

Regional Transit Options: San Franciscans, especially those without cars in their households or with fewer cars than drivers also need access to neighboring counties. San Franciscans would also like residents of other counties to have easy transit access to San Francisco. This includes all transit modes.


Expansion of Muni streetcar system: Extension of Muni's Metro system with new lines down Geary and Third Street are planned. This committee needs to follow these important additions as well as long term studies of lines to Chinatown/North Beach and Van Ness Avenue.

Capital Projects Underway: Extension of Muni Metro to the China Basin area and installation of a new train control system is underway, though delayed. New streetcars and buses are on the way. RESCUE Muni needs to be thoroughly familiar with what capital resources will be available during the next decade.

Energy Conversion of Fleet: Muni lines that justify a significant level of service are candidates for conversion to electric trolley. Benefits include quiet operation, faster acceleration on hills compared to traditional buses, and no pollution at the source. Where investment in overhead electric lines is not justified, Muni should consider compressed or liquified natural gas as a cleaner fuel than diesel. Sacramento and LAX have significant fleets of such vehicles.

Muni Fares and Finance: Once Muni has restored confidence in its management and provision of transit services, its long term financial problems must be addressed. Responsibilities includes insuring dedicated local financing, following federal funding and possible Bay Area gasoline tax, and examination of cash fares and cost of Fast Pass. Coordination of Bay Area transit tickets/passes is also an issue.