Riders Resigned to Muniserable Service Cuts

Muni riders as pessimistically fatalist as any Russian novelist

By Jackson West
|  Monday, May 17, 2010  |  Updated 3:15 PM PDT
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The Misadventures of Muni

Jim Herd

Even raccoons are probably complaining about earlier ends to late-night Muni service.

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For years, the site of two or three Muni buses caravanning along popular routes like the 14-Mission, 30-Stockton, 38-Geary has become commonplace.

And the new changes to service have done little to change it, according to anecdotal reports from riders.Buses still end up stacked next to each other, just now those "bunches" arrive less frequently, start later and end earlier.

The service reduction, the largest in Muni's history, went into effect to help reduce the agency's budget deficit.

The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, which manages Muni, has been left throwing out ideas for possible tax increases -- since stemming "work order" raids on the agency's budget and extending metered parking hours seem politically unfeasible, and the Transit Workers Union has decline to budge on payment or work rule concessions.

Proposals include the likely popular increase in hotel taxes to the perennially unpopular suggestion of adding half a percent to the City's sales tax.

Two ideas that make the most actual sense, but likely to prove a political third rail, are raising the vehicle license fee and taxes on parking, which combined are estimated to provide $53.4 million in revenue, or much of the agency's deficit.

But good luck getting the relatively wealthy and politically active motorists and the retail businesses that cater to them going along with that plan.

Jackson West wonders if Einstein's theories of gravitational attraction might have implications for bus bunching.

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