Will Muni’s unfunded improvement plan actually improve Muni?

Breda in the Garage
Photo by Telstar Logistics

You remember TEP, right? No? It was the result of extensive studies on how to improve Muni, in a dreamy little nutshell. It was unveiled with great fanfare in 2006, but it ran off the rails when that whole recession thingy started shitting money and jobs in 2008.

Now, SFMTA has brought TEP back to the forefront. SFGate reports:

The Municipal Transportation Agency launched the 18-month Transit Effectiveness Project — with great fanfare, extensive research and many community meetings — in 2006 and adopted it in 2008. Since then, with the agency facing budget crises, the plan sat idle, used only to help decide where service should be slashed.

Now Muni is dusting off the recommendations, beginning a required environmental review process that could take up to two years and restarting community meetings to discuss such controversial proposals as consolidating bus stops to speed service and stringing new overhead wires so Muni can change routes.

Read the rest of the story at SFGate. And tell us: What do you think about TEP’s plans to improve Muni? And how on earth will they find the funding to implement this?

We understand the “OMG I HATE MUNI” sentiment, but this could be your chance to offer realistic suggestions on how we can make it better. More back-door boarding crackdowns? Working with the driver’s union? Eating cake? Weigh in down in the comments.

10 comments

  • Laura Mendoza

    1) Eliminate private autos on Market Street from 7th & Market to the Ferry Building.

    2) Analyze the most-frequented lines and their busiest times (rush hours)and INCREASE buses for those rush hours. Run every 5-10 minutes if possible.

    3) Allow \bike only\ all hour access same as Caltrain to accommodate bikes on the K, L, M underground fleet.

  • BBnet3000

    Longer trains, more trains (Geary shouldnt be buses) more grade separation. People seem to think streetcars are so European, but I dont know of any major European cities without a metro system.

    Labor is transits biggest cost, and running 2 car trains is thus a massive waste of money. In the market street subway with its platforms built for BART, its downright comical.

  • We understand the “OMG I HATE MUNI” sentiment, but this could be your chance to offer realistic suggestions on how we can make it better.

    Why would anyone do the latter when the former is SOOO much easier?

  • The bus stop consolidation thing needs to happen. Stopping every block is ridiculous.

    But for that simple change to happen, supervisors need to man up and tell the folks they represent that no, you can’t have a bus stop right outside your house, you have to walk a block or two extra. And in return, you get faster service.

  • Yes! Bus stop consolidation is a must – it would really speed things up. Also there has to be a way to enforce paying the fare. I’ve never lived anywhere else with such a fare dodging problem.
    Also, make NextBus more accurate (this is probably going off the topic, though).
    More accurate NextBus would probably even out the passenger distribution on each bus, which would also speed up the commute.

  • Jamison Wieser

    The TEP plan was never really sitting idle, service planning (which was under a hiring freeze for a very long time leaving it severely understaffed) was pulled off of it a few times to work on the service cuts over the last few years.

    To a couple other commenters points:

    Laura, data collection was a key piece of the TEP. Categorizing routes is one of the results and those highest ridership lines will make up the Rapid Network (which accounts for something like 25% of all ridership) and will have service every 5-10 minutes. Here are links to the ridership data and recommendations:

    http://www.sfmta.com/cms/rtep/tepdataindx.htm
    http://www.sfmta.com/cms/cmta/SFMTABoardApril52011ServiceImprovementRouteMaps.htm

    BBnet3000, trains are limited by the length of their stops and stations. While the downtown subway may accommodate 3 or 4 car trains, out on the surface they all make stops where a third car won’t fit (with the exception of the J-Church, which only fits one-car). Aside from that, the trains weren’t designed to run longer a third-car can be added, but it only runs in tow-mode, the operator can’t open the doors.

  • david vartanoff

    @Jamison about third cars, who hobbled the multiple unit door controls? As to hanging off the platforms, two car trains already do that all over, so IMHO its moot.

    Far more important. While stop elimination is justified in some places, the real solution is more LTD’s/Expresses. The notorious Muni effort to scrap stops on the 39 LOCAL in the Tenderloin failed because older, less athletic riders howled. The whole fight was not only unnecessary it was the wrong strategy. What Muni should have done was change the mix to more 38L’s fewer locals. That would have kept local stops for those who need them, speed buses for riders to/from further out. No EIR, no BOS hearings, just a minor schedule change, EVERYBODY WINS. The same lcl/to Ltd shift on Mission can also be implemented more or less immediately with similar benefits. There are other routes which TEP listed for speedier buses, BUT as long as there is no money, nothing will happen.

  • Jamison Wieser

    David, you hit the nail on the head: there are a lot of improvements in the TEP which will mean better and more efficient service, but they have an upfront cost to implement the changes.

    Over the past few years the SFMTA has already carried out a lot of the small changes: eliminating the lowest ridership lines and stops, added more limited and express service, rejiggering service so busses are run from the closest yard (minimizing the non-revenue time it takes getting busses to and from the lines), and a lot of other tweaks to eek out savings where possible.

    Building a more reliable system is going to cost money. There is no way around that and until someone is willing to invest what it takes, we’re going to see Muni continue to get worse.

  • Laura Mendoza

    Muni, you never addressed the idea of Market Street where a lot of the
    back exists. Single occupancy, private vehicles should be rerouted
    off Market. This single devise would speed things greatly and doesn’t
    cost a dime.

  • Jamison Wieser

    Laura, SFMTA is one of several agencies working on redesigning Market Street. The section east of Van Ness at least.

    http://www.bettermarketstreetsf.org/

    The project is at the data-collection stage and the public outreach meetings should be coming up soon to share the results, ask and answer questions and kick off the design.

    All the changes made by the SFMTA over the last few years like the forced right-turns eastbound, the green bike lanes, the failed beige bike boxes and the new green bikes boxes have all been part of this data gathering. With a major redesign getting closer I’m guessing we’ll see the SFMTA get less and less likely to do much more (the green bike lanes on upper market are approved and last I heard were coming in the late spring or summer) until they know whether it would just be torn up in a year or two for something better.

    Everyone who’s interested in Market Street should keep an eye out for any upcoming public outreach meetings or visit the site (there’s some interesting background information in the 2009 bike and pedestrian survey results) and you can always contact them for more information.

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