Uncluesome Newsom Touts Muni Performance

The Gavinator touts on-time stats, even as Muni traps riders underground, discontinues routes, hikes fares, and obscures evidence

Recent reports that San Francisco's Muni is "more reliable than ever" are a real headscratcher to anyone who was caught in Monday's subway meltdown.

Despite Muni trapping passengers with no explanation on Monday, Gavin Newsom's mayoral office/gubernatorial campaign just sent out a press release touting the agency's on-time performance.

How could the Gavinator be so out of touch? Maybe it's because Muni's keeping the mayor's office in the dark, just like they keep their own customers in the dark.

Muni alerts are about as unreliable as can be; when service is disrupted, it's anybody's guess as to whether Muni will notify riders. Muni spokeswoman Kristen Hollard was recently unable to explain the inconsistent communication with riders.

Even worse, despite the city's recent brag that it would open data to the public -- a project annouced by none other than Gavin -- Muni continues to restrict access to daily reports, obscuring the data in non-machine-readable PDFs.

Meanwhile, the city continues to fight to withhold evidence gathered by Muni employees from public scrutiny. Muni is also consistently unable to provide video footage from its cameras. And don't forget: the agency is gearing up for more service cuts and additional fare hikes in just a few months.

The Examiner recycled Newsom's good news about Muni as though it were true, while SFGate presented the other side of the claim: although the longer-term average is up, the most recent metric shows that on-time performance has recently gone down. Not included in either article is any mention of the wide latitude that Muni affords itself for determining "on-time": drivers have a window of about five minutes to deviate from schedule.

So no matter what Gavin believes -- and no matter what Muni's telling him -- it's hard to think of a situation in which you could rely on Muni for anything.

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