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
|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Chairman, Steering Committee / Chief Spokesperson
Vice Chairman, Steering Committee
RESCUE MUNI: Mayor's Budget
Needs Real Service Standards
RESCUE MUNI, the transit riders' association, urges the Board of Supervisors to
enforceable service standards to the mayor's requested $331 million budget for the Municipal Railway. The organization supports the mayor's increased budget for the transit agency, but it recommends that strings be attached to make sure the money is spent to improve reliability
"Emilio Cruz has said that there will be no excuses if this budget is passed," said Andrew Sullivan, chairman of the 250-member organization. "Let's not give him any."
The proposed budget, currently under consideration by the board's Finance Committee, includes approximately $24 million in new funding for the railway. Much of the new funding is designated for such critical tasks as filling open driver and street-supervisor vacancies, buying sufficient parts to maintain vehicles properly, and establishing a "proof of payment" system to speed travel on several key lines. According to Muni's budget summaries, these initiatives are designed to improve the system's on-time performance; as Mayor Willie Brown himself stated in the Budget Summary, "timeliness of service is the most important issue to the riding public."
"Many of Harvey Rose's cuts don't make sense," said Sullivan, referring to the $4 million in reductions proposed by the city's Budget Analyst. "I can understand cutting a few administrative positions - but cutting millions out of maintenance and training, when we know these directly impact the rider, seems foolish," he argued. "We should instead require that these funds be used to improve reliability, and hold Muni management accountable."
But the organization does not endorse giving Muni a blank check. Last year, Muni's budget increased by $17 million, slightly less than is proposed this year - but Muni's reliability did not improve at all, as demonstrated by the Muni Riders' Survey in March. To prevent history from repeating itself, the organization urges the Board of Supervisors to adopt enforceable service goals, beginning with a significant improvement in on-time performance, as a firm condition of any increases in funding.
"My line got worse this year, despite last year's budget increases," said RESCUE MUNI member and N-Judah rider Daniel Murphy, referring to its grade of "F" in the survey. "We need to make sure these millions of taxpayer dollars actually make the streetcars run on time."
"Everyone says Muni's their top priority, from the Mayor on down," noted Sullivan. "But thus far we only read about it in the newspaper. This is the Board's chance to put its money where its mouth is."
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 250 members throughout the city. Its proposed service standards are available on its web site.
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