Transit News Digest 3.10.09 (Update)

Silly me, posting a news digest before 1 p.m.

Update: Just learned that BART directors will a presentation Thursday (March 12) on the agency’s Fiscal Year 2010, assuming it will have one. It expects a $49.3 million deficit next year.

Original post: Earlier today, Greg Dewar posted a quick hit asking for details on a Muni slowdown. Good luck getting that, Greg. If you, dear reader, know of anything, let us know here or on Twitter, or drop Greg a line.

On Monday, SFGate reported another jump in public transit ridership, with 2008’s numbers constituting a 52-year high. It’s great news, but here in San Francisco, as in many other parts of the country, budget deficits compounded by the spiraling economy are forcing fare hikes and cuts in funding. The country is truly a shambles right now economically, but it’s at least encouraging that more and more people realize that public transit, while full of its share of problems, nearly always beats driving. (thx: Rescue Muni)

Nascent online-news site SFAppeal catches us up on just how badly the budget numbers will impact plans for the Central/Chinatown Subway project. It doesn’t look good.

Per that report last week that Muni managed to boost its on-time rates, The Examiner has a theory as to how it happened — discipline from on high. We’d sure like to see a Muni driver slapped on the wrist with a ruler next time he or she starts a route early.

In perhaps more familiar news, a suit has been filed against the BART extension into Fremont. We didn’t realize the backyards over there were so precious. Turns out the group crying foul comprises former BART directors and the Transportation Solutions and Education Fund, so perhaps it’s got merit. They claim the extension is an illegal expenditure of public funds, basically because the rest of the extension into Santa Clara County hasn’t yet found funding. To our minds, this is like saying, “Don’t eat breakfast if you haven’t yet found a way to pay for lunch.”

Oh, and be wary until about 4 p.m., as Muni is advising of delays in downtown San Francisco due to a demonstration.

And to leave you on a high note, SFist spreads word of a TransLink party along Market on March 22. Sounds deliciously deviant and painfully fun.

If you’ve got news tips or stories you’re dying to tell, let us know. And Happy Tuesday!

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