Riders air grievances about T-Third problems, Caltrain access

T-ThirdJ ChurchUpdate: Chronicle report on the meeting and T-Third issues more generally.

About thirty or forty Muni riders attended the town hall meeting held in response to an online petition complaining about service problems and route changes associated with the startup of the T-Third line. A good number of Rescue Muni members were among the attendees.

MTA Executive Director/CEO Nathaniel Ford outlined the agency’s action plan to deal with service reliability problems—increasing operator availability, dealing with bottleneck intersections, etc.—and promised a preliminary answer within a week to service design concerns raised at the meeting. He emphasized that he wanted to find the right answers to the problems before taking final action.

Attendees, many of whom were transit commuters who live outside the city, made a number of comments and concerns. Here’s a list of the ones I managed to jot down during the meeting; there were quite a few good points raised. I apologize in advance for any omissions or errors. Note that this is a summary of the speakers’ opinions, and doesn’t necessarily represent the views of Rescue Muni, nor those of our evil puppetmasters.

  • The MTA CAC should include representatives from outside San Francisco, since some Muni riders live outside the city.
  • Caltrain should have a non-voting representative on the MTA Board to represent the interests of Caltrain commuters.
  • There should be one station at 4th and King.
  • The station at 4th and King should not be on the far side of the intersection.
  • Muni schedules should be better coordinated with those of Caltrain.
  • Peak period trains to Caltrain should be two-car, not one-car, since Caltrain commuters come in waves corresponding to train departures, since Caltrain runs on time, for the most part.
  • Muni workers should have more autonomy to make decisions and help customers.
  • The elimination of the 15-Third reduced North Beach access to Caltrain, especially on weekends.
  • The new routing of the 10-Townsend takes it through a poorly-enforced bus lane.
  • Because the trains fill up with Caltrain commuters in the AM peak, people in South Beach can’t board the vehicles; they’re full by the time the trains get to Brannan.
  • Muni should allow folding bikes on Metro.
  • Muni employees at Embarcadero are rude to passengers.
  • It’s harder to get to Caltrain from downtown, and this is driving people into their cars.
  • The travel time from any given downtown station to Caltrain is much less predictable now, and people have to leave an unreasonably long amount of time before their departing train to ensure they get to it on time.
  • The signal pre-empts aren’t turned on, and should be.
  • We need more signal pre-empts along the Metro lines.
  • N-Judah service to Caltrain should be restored.
  • Muni should add trains as “sweepers” to make sure a train goes from downtown and arrives at Caltrain just before the trains depart, to make sure commuters to each train can be sure of getting picked up, even if the J-Church and T-Third aren’t running reliably.
  • Caltrain should add later Baby Bullet trains, since people work later hours nowadays.
  • The 15-Third provided more reliable access to Bayview, and too many people are being kicked off trains on the T-Third as they do short turns.

Some images from the meeting:
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Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
A member of the public comments. Seated (L to R): MTA CEO Nathaniel Ford, MTA COO Ken McDonald, someone whose name I didn’t catch, and Parking & Traffic Director Bond Yee.

-Daniel M.