A Transit Riders' Association for San Francisco
P.O. Box 190966
San Francisco, CA 94119-0966

Hotline: (415) 273-1558
board at rescuemuni.org

Andrew Sullivan
Chairman, Steering Committee / Chief Spokesperson
(415) 673-0626

Daniel Murphy
Vice-Chair, Steering Committee
(415) 665.4074

Gonzalez Shafts Muni Riders Again

Rescue Muni, San Francisco's transit riders' association, condemned a last-minute ballot ballot measure which could result in a forced service cut for Muni.

The measure, placed on the March ballot at the last minute by four supervisors, including Gonzalez, requires that Muni replace much of its existing bus fleet with vehicles which may not be reliable enough for use in San Francisco's operating environment.

"This is typical of Matt Gonzalez's arrogance toward Muni riders," said Rescue Muni chair Andrew Sullivan. "Without so much as a phone call to Muni staff or transit advocates, he signs off on a ballot measure which forces Muni into a timetable for buying new, untested buses. It's clear he doesn't give a damn about riders waiting at bus stops for expensive, unreliable vehicles."

"The sad thing about this," said Rescue Muni vice chair Daniel Murphy, "is that Muni was already pursuing alt-fuels technology, and working to replace the old bus fleet with new, low-pollution vehicles. But the most important thing in bus replacement is reliability; if the buses aren't reliable, Muni riders will get back in their cars and air pollution will get worse, not better. Reliable bus service means cleaner air. Matt Gonzalez and the other supervisors who supported this initiative just don't get that."

"The right thing to do is to work with Muni staff, transit advocates, and environmental groups to develop a plan that will adopt alternative-fueled vehicles such as diesel-electric hybrids, but also include a realistic timetable that won't leave Muni riders stuck if the technology isn't reliable or the California Air Resources Board (CARB) doesn't approve them in time," Murphy added. "Forcing this technical decision into an inflexible schedule via a ballot measure is exactly the wrong thing to do."

"Rescue Muni backed Matt Gonzalez for supervisor three years ago," Sullivan said, "but time and time again, he's shown himself to be completely indifferent to Muni riders. Earlier this year, he even said that Muni should give up hard-won public transit funding, which Muni riders desperately need for more reliable service, in exchange for easily-broken promises of funds for the homeless. This last-minute stunt -- right at the deadline, just days before the mayoral election -- speaks volumes about what Muni riders could expect in the event he's elected mayor."

Rescue Muni is a transit riders' organization for customers of Muni. It was founded in 1996 by Muni riders seeking to improve the system's reliability, service, and safety. The organization conducts an annual riders' survey, serves as a citizens' watchdog group for Muni, and promotes expansion of transit service in San Francisco. Rescue Muni co-sponsored November 1999's Proposition E for Muni reform after circulating its own charter amendment earlier that year and participating in City Hall negotiations. Rescue Muni is an independent, nonpartisan group run entirely by volunteers and supported solely by its members' dues.

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Posted 7 Dec 2003.