Muni is Unreliable

By Matt Baume
|  Monday, Feb 14, 2011  |  Updated 6:00 AM PDT
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Muni is Unreliable

Tamara Cameron

You can see the damage best here to the front of the L train.

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Another day, another Muni lament.

This time it's the Examiner investigating the agency's 11-year failure to meet voter-mandated performance levels.  Muni officials promise they've been working hard on the issue for years, but have little to show for their efforts.

A constellation of misfortunes seems to perpetually hobble the agency, but the worst is vehicular traffic. With buses forced to contend with private cars on most streets, there's no telling how close drivers will be able to keep to their schedules.

And of course, this creates an increasingly unpredictable feedback loop. Muni is unreliable, so people drive. And because people drive, there are more cars on the road. And because there are more cars on the road, Muni gets even more unreliable.

Of course, there are non-car alternatives to Muni, such as riding a bike. But that requires using your muscles.

According to the Ex, traffic conditions like frequent stop signs, narrow streets, and too many cars slow bus lines like the 54-Felton, which has an on-time rate of 51%.

The agency estimates that nearly half of its delays are due to private vehicles blocking the road.

Operator absenteeism is another problem -- an average of 12 percent of the drivers are out on any given day.

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