A Muni Minute: Transit Agency Games Stats

Muni admits to fudging on-time performance numbers.

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    Charles Haynes

    That was a long minute. Or a short minute, depending on the needs of the San Francisco Municipal Railway.

    Muni is accused of "fudging" its on-time statistics, in a new Bay Citizen investigation. The transit agency is "much less efficient" than its claims, the news Web site reported.

    A Muni vehicle is deemed on time if it's no more than one minute early or up to four minutes late. But a "minute" can be as much as 119 seconds, according to Muni's clocks.

    Muni admitted that its "algorithm" for determining on-time statistics used a different, longer definition of a "minute," the Web site reported.

    Muni plans to update its software to reflect 60-second minutes, but in the meantime, all of its on-time records are thrown into question.

    Muni is required by the City Charter to be on-time 85 percent of the time, the Web site reported. It reported a 71 percent on-time rating in the last half of 2011, but was really on-time only 61.4 percent of the time, the Web site reported.

    Muni "shouldn't be playing games with numbers," said Gabriel Metcalf, executive director of SPUR, a city think-tank.