Muni Meltdown Continues With More Broken Equipment

By Matt Baume
|  Monday, Apr 18, 2011  |  Updated 2:57 PM PDT
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Muni Meltdown Continues With More Broken Equipment

Joe Rosato Jr.

A Muni bus passes through the terminal to pick up passengers. Delays are not all that uncommon on Muni.

Muni riders slapped their collective foreheads again as the transit agency headed into the weekend with yet more delays. For now, service is back to normal, but with equipment failures producing delays almost every week, it's only a matter of time before you're late to another appointment.

Friday's malfunction had something to do with a signal in the tunnel beneath Market Street. Muni has a track record of delaying maintenance in order to save money.

For two hours, trains were backed up, with limited shuttle buses struggling to replicate rail service. Muni was only able to deploy five buses at West Portal and two at Church and Duboce.

The breakdown came on the heels of a report that shuttle buses are costing the transit agency big bucks over the long term. In an attempt to save money, Muni instituted a hiring freeze a year and a half ago. But because drivers kept retiring, Muni soon found itself without enough train operators.

Now, bus drivers are being paid overtime to drive as many as 10 shuttles a day in the avenues, according to the Examiner. The shuttles are slower and more crowded than buses, passengers report.

Muni's on track to exceed its overtime budget for the year by tens of millions of dollars.

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