Muni Claims System is Safe Despite State's Findings

By Matt Baume
|  Wednesday, Mar 2, 2011  |  Updated 2:15 PM PDT
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Muni Claims System is Safe Despite State's Findings

A Muni crash from 2009.

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You already knew that you can't trust Muni to get you to work on time. Now, would you trust them with your life?

Muni officials responded indignantly to a new state report that accuses the transit agency of numerous safety violations. According to the Public Utilities Commission, Muni equipment suffers from systemic disrepair, and employees are dangerously inattentive.

If found to be true, the findings could result in tens of thousands of dollars of fines every day until they are fixed.

According to Muni, their top priority is safety. Officials claim that they have corrected the problems identified by the PUC, or have developed a plan to do so in the future. But according to regulators, those corrections will take far too long.

Meanwhile Mayor Lee has called for a transparent, public accounting for Muni's shortcomings. A public hearing will be held this Friday at 9pm in City Hall room 408, according to the Gate.

In one case, an inspector witnessed a driver closing his eyes and appearing to nod off while operating a train in a tunnel. On another occasion, a driver appeared to be reading a newspaper. Other inspectors found broken-down equipment scattered throughout the system.

In many cases, the problem comes down to money. Perpetually strapped for cash and underfunded, Muni has always had difficulty paying for basic maintenance.

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