Your Turn: Ask Muni’s Judson True

Is there a passenger quota on buses? What is Muni doing to improve its on-time performance? How can we get cleaner buses? Why does the back door never open when I want to get off but always opens when people are cheating the fare? And what was that red puddle on the 14?

These are just some of the questions percolating in our comments section, in our Twitter feed, and on our minds as we ride the bus every day. We know there are a ton more questions out there, so we asked Judson True, SFMTA’s media relations manager, for a little one-on-one. He will be answering some of your most pressing questions in his first Muni Diaries interview. So, what do you want to know?

We will be taking your questions and some of our own, so tell us what you want to know in the comments section by next Friday, March 20, or email us at

Stay tuned!


  • Am I too late?
    I want to know what the official deal is for drivers putting people off the bus or ignoring the problem and NOT putting people off the bus. If I witness someone on the bus who should be put off and they are not, can I report this?
    Anyone who rides the 22 or the 19 knows why this is important…

  • eugenia

    Hi Rachel, no, not too late at all! We’ll add it in our question bag for the interview. I don’t usually take the 19 – what kind of problems have you witnessed?

  • On the 19 I’ve mostly just seen people arguing/fighting, crazy people being crazy and out of control kids (like the ones who were fighting and one fell on me, then the others were arguing with a man that was trying to shut them up… meanwhile the driver did nothing). It’s a weird line, cuts through some of the best and worst neighborhoods in the city… But I feel the driver needs to maintain some kind of order/decorum, especially because this bus gets super crowded and people get short tempered… I mean, all lines have these problems but the 19 just always seems to have the kookiest people (in my opinion)

  • Anthony

    Delays in the tunnel are going to occur. No arguments about that. A couple suggestions to improve riders’ satisfaction when delays do occur in the tunnel:

    1: Provide information. When there is a delay, quickly and CLEARLY state the known reason for the delay and estimated time to resolve. Keep the passengers updated often during the delay as well.

    2: Provide something to occupy riders during the delays. For example, add WiFi or wireless cell coverage in the underground from Embarcadero to West Portal.

    Studies show that if the customer is occupied during a wait, the customer perceives the wait to be shorter than it is. In addition, customers rate the service provider higher when the wait time is occupied.

  • 1. Maybe you can tell them why don’t they put long buses on the 19 during rush hour so the 19 doesn’t have to be cramped with kids?
    2. I want Judson True to read this.
    3. I think it was a yesterday that a empty (well, almost empty) 47-Van Ness passed me up at VN and North Point!
    4. Why don’t they handle complaints regarding Muni drivers better?

    @Anthony: I heard Muni has wi-fi in the subway, but it’s pass-protected.

  • @rachel: I have the same issue with the 14! Sometimes it feels uncomfortable and unsafe when situations like that happen (fights, boozey behavior, etc) and I end up getting off the bus. I agree – what is the official guideline for the driver, right?

  • Fab idea! Can’t wait to read the interview. Bravo, Muni Diaries!!

  • Well, I’m the guy who posted the red puddle, and here’s a question that are only slightly related:

    I would be interested what Muni’s UNofficial stance is on fare cheating on buses. Note I say unofficial, because I’m not interested in the official line. I would like to know what the drivers are told.

    The reason I ask is because I am simply amazed by how rampant fare cheating is on buses and how resigned Muni seems to it. I regularly see empty buses pull up to the stop, and a mass of people get on — most of them in the back, sometimes even prying the door open, of course never showing (and presumably not having) passes or intention to pay the fare. See for yourselves: go to Balboa Park around 6 PM, and wait for an outbound 54 or 43. Then stand back and behold.

    I’m regularly one of the very few people on these buses who pay (I pay even when I get on in the back, since I have Translink). The bus drivers simply don’t put up any resistance. None. Whatsoever. I get that they just want to get going — in fact often they impatiently and quite rudely wave us through when we want to pay, which also really pisses me off. Yeah, how *dare* I try to pay for the fare! The fare cheating problem is systemic and it seems to be widely condoned and even encouraged by Muni. (Unless, of course, we’re talking Muni Metro, downtown. I’ve been checked three times by two different inspectors on one trip once. Huh?)

    My question carries sort of a new relevancy for me, as fare hikes are being talked about again and I’m none too interested in even further subsidizing the majority of the people on those buses. It does seem to me that there’s low hanging fruit to be had here and that with just a little bit of more effort, some of the fare cheating could be curbed and some revenue could be reclaimed.

    I would like to know why Muni won’t send some of those uniformed fare inspectors out to Balboa Park, like, tomorrow.

  • Here’s one: How did SFMTA/Muni resolve the leaky pipes issue regarding the streets on the L-Taraval and T-Third lines since the time when Maggie Lynch walked away from an interview with KPIX reporter Anna Warner?

    Lynch walked away when Muni denied or downplayed the leaking pipes due to stray current from the L-Taraval line, and Warner showed the exact problem on 3rd Street with the “T” line when she showed documentation straight from Lynch’s office.

    Here’s my second question: When does Muni plan to conduct the full roll-out of Translink to the public? I would like to know an exact date, no “mid year 2010.”

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