Only Thing Speeding Up at Muni Are Breakdowns

Transit cuts, fare increases debated at City Hall

By Jackson West
|  Friday, Jan 29, 2010  |  Updated 4:15 PM PDT
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Only Thing Speeding Up at Muni Are Breakdowns

NBC Bay Area

The recent Muni crash may be an isolated incident, but this photograph proves an apt metaphor for the SFMTA's problems.

Seems the only thing speeding up at Muni is its problems.

With layoffs among employees imminent, it turns out that even San Francisco Municipal Transit Authority Director Nathaniel Ford admits that the loss of maintenance staff will mean increased costs -- in overtime for remaining staff.

The debate over further proposed service cuts and fare increases were discussed again at a board meeting held at City Hall today, with even MTA board members questioning the agency's plans to cut late night service and refusal to consider extending parking enforcement hours and fare increases.

Board of Supervisors President David Chiu expressed his frustration by promising that supervisors have no plans to approve fare increases, especially increases for discount passes offered to seniors.

Might be because as part of a compromise last year where to board approved cuts to service, fare hikes and the raid on the MTA's budget by other city agencies, the MTA promised to consider the issue of increased parking revenue.

However, nowhere in the MTA's current budget proposals is any discussion of asking drivers to pay their fair share. The MTA is actually considering cutting back on parking control officers and Department of Public Works street sweeping, both of which bring in revenue through increased illegal parking citations -- and exacerbating problems with blocked sidewalks and dirty streets.

Meanwhile, the National Resources Defense Council released a report asking lenders to calculate transportation costs as part of mortgage risk calculations. Working families looking to escape to the exurbs, beyond the range of dysfunctional transit agencies, are more likely to default as the cost of long commutes impedes their ability to make mortgage payments on time.

So you're damned if you stick around and rely on Muni, and damned if you don't and bail for the suburbs where gas price spikes could make your commute unaffordable.

Jackson West rents in San Francisco, rides his bike, and will probably never apply for a home loan.

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