Major Service Changes Proposed By SFTEP

Today Mayor Newsom, MTA Director Nat Ford, SFTEP head Julie Kirschbaum, and others unveiled a highly detailed plan to revise Muni service citywide, to improve service quality and better match service to customer demand. This is easily the most extensive revision to Muni service proposed in a generation, since the crosstown routes were created in the 1970s. Highlights include:

  • the creation of a citywide Rapid network;
  • increasing rapid/limited service to meet demand for faster, more reliable service citywide;
  • distinguishing between Rapid, Local, and Community service;
  • simplifying many routes to reduce detours for one way streets, eliminate the “spaghetti route” problem and speed up service;
  • eliminating many redundant (e.g. 4-Sutter, 7-Haight) and very low ridership (e.g. 56-Rutland, 89-Laguna Honda) lines;
  • and otherwise rerouting service to meet demand.
  • The best way to review this is to look at the 8 page proposal summary (pdf) and service policy framework (pdf) and then go straight to the list of proposals by line.

    Many of us at Rescue Muni have been participating in the SFTEP Citizen Advisory Committee, and the detailed proposal is quite consistent with the policy proposals discussed in these meetings. It’s very good news to see the MTA thinking about service as a whole and not just about specific point changes that can be made – after all, most riders use more than one line on a regular basis, so a faster, more reliable system is what is needed to increase ridership and get more San Franciscans out of their cars. And it’s also quite refreshing to see these proposals being made based on real world data on ridership and customer input, instead of just drawing lines on a map.

    Of course we will have specific comments about many of the specific proposals, which we’ll post here soon, but we’re delighted to see Muni focusing here on what really matters – faster and more reliable service.

    The next step is building the political will to make these changes, and also funding the project. Many of these proposals – bus bulbs, overhead wire extensions, bus only lanes, and more – require capital investment, and not all of the service changes will be paid for via efficiencies. We’ll be very interested in what MTA proposes as a revenue source to pay for all this. (But keep in mind – paint is very cheap.)

    Please post your comments here, or on our Yahoo Group, and also please submit your comments to the SFTEP online. Also, we’ll be scheduling a General Meeting soon to give our members a chance to grill the SFTEP staff on all the proposals, the rationale behind them, and more – stay tuned for an announcement in the very near future.

    Update: The Chronicle and Examiner cover the story.