San Francisco

‘Eroding the Confidence': SF Mayor Breed Blasts Muni Officials For Flawed Service

One day after San Francisco Mayor London Breed blasted the Muni director in a letter, accusing him of "eroding the confidence" of riders in the system, the mayor took a ride on Muni and continued her criticism.

Breed said Tuesday you can’t push people to use public transportation and then have the transit not work. From widespread delays in service to the recent death of a construction worker, Breed said she’s fed up, and her concerns are echoing through City Hall.

On Tuesday, Breed’s did what she’s done for years: She took a ride in Muni to "see what the experience is like. I mean, I know what it’s like; it's been a couple years."

Recently, the ride on Muni has been bumpy. Delays have plagued bus and light rail service, and Aug. 10, a worker for Shimmick Construction, Patrick Ricketts, died while working on the Twin Peaks tunnel after a steal beam collapsed on him.

Schimmick had three serious OSHA violations on its record, all under appeal. But the SFMTA didn’t catch it.

"Ultimately, the director and the board of directors, they are accountable for making this system work," Breed said.

SFMTA Director Ed Reiskin responded to the criticism Tuesday.

"We’ve had a rough couple of weeks and a rough time since she’s been in office," he said. "So, it’s incumbent upon us to kind of restore and rebuild that confidence."

Reiskin addressed the letter before meeting privately with the transportation board and explained all contractors are now independently verified.

One member applauded the reform.

"But that should have been done a long time ago," board member Art Torres said. "And it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to Google somebody and find out that they’ve had some violations."

As Muni promises to do better and bounce back, Breed wants the agency to know she’s watching.

"Muni has to work well for the people of San Francisco so that it is their first option," she said during Tuesday's ride. "And look, we’re stuck right now (throws up her arms). Aren’t we stuck?"

Breed told NBC Bay Area she won’t discuss personnel matters with the media, but the reality is she can’t remove Reiskin. The SFMTA board can, and it so happens Tuesday, he was scheduled to receive his annual evaluation.

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