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


Hotline: (415) 273-1558
Email:
board at rescuemuni.org
Web:
http://www.rescuemuni.org
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contacts:
Andrew Sullivan
Chairman, Steering Committee / Chief Spokesperson
(415) 673-0626
celebes@well.com

Ken Niemi
Member of Steering Committee
(415) 412-9094
rmkenniemi@aol.com


Muni Metro Meltdown: 1000 Riders Demand Immediate Action
SAN FRANCISCO, August 31, 1998 - Riders are understandably furious at Muni for Metro service last week. Muni made very significant changes in how we use the system without telling us in advance how it would change and how the changes would improve the system after implementation glitches were fixed. This turned a difficult situation of change into a nightmare and brought already frustrated riders far past the boiling point.

If Muni had only used a few of the billboards in the subway stations to explain key changes in advance, the incredible overcrowding at Embarcadero platform would not have happened; most riders would have grumbled but understood what was going on. Instead, only proof of payment (POP) was explained, and only that riders needed to have POP with them on a vehicle or on a platform, forgetting to mention how the white buttons on the Bredas would open the doors while on the street. Also, of course, thousands of riders were left in the dark during the major delays that plagued the first week of ATCS service, not knowing when their car would arrive or the cause of the trouble.

To regain riders’ confidence, Muni must immediately:
  1. apologize for the poor advance communication;
  2. fix the bugs so that all trains can consistently use the automatic train control system (ATCS);
  3. deliver complete, accurate information on the status of the crisis until it is resolved;
  4. make sure that all station agents and operators know the cause and severity of any delays, relay that information immediately to customers, and fully explain Metro alternatives (including BART where appropriate) to riders;
  5. fully explain to the riding public the purpose and goals of ATCS;
  6. open up its mind and listen to riders when they suggest ways to run the Metro/streetcar system more efficiently;
  7. work out a flexible and efficient agreement with the Transport Workers Union such that trains go outbound in proper sequence instead of sending five K‚s or J‚s or N‚s in a row;
  8. work out a reasonable deal with BART on the use of the Fast Pass on BART within San Francisco;
  9. show steady quarterly improvement in outputs (service quantity and quality), not just inputs (employees) before the Board of Supervisors as the full requested funding kicks in starting October 1; and
  10. think of Muni riders as customers, not cattle.


Through these steps Muni Director Cruz and Mayor Brown can cool down the firestorm of anger that erupted last week and take the first step on a long journey to regain the respect of Muni riders. To encourage such steps, RESCUE MUNI volunteers gathered well over 1000 signatures Friday evening at downtown Metro stations in a matter of a little over two hours. We will be requesting a meeting with Muni officials early this week to discuss their progress in implementing ATCS and our recommended improvements to Metro operations.

RESCUE MUNI, A Transit Riders’ Association for San Francisco, is an organization of concerned riders who seek to make service faster, safer, more reliable, and more responsive to riders’ needs. Founded in 1996, it now has more than 320 members throughout the city.

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Posted 8/31/98.