San Francisco Transit Riders Weigh In on MUNI Reforms
Reset San Francisco’s new survey on public transit in San Francisco reveals widespread approval for proposed reforms to increase the speed and efficiency of the Municipal Railway, but uncertainty on how to generate badly needed revenue for the Municipal Transportation Agency.
Whether it’s the 38 Geary, N Judah, J Church or 1 California, most MUNI riders can find something that needs improving on their line. The MUNI Satisfaction Survey found just 7% of people have a “very favorable” impression of MUNI with 24% reporting “very unfavorable.” Overall, 44% of the respondents to the online poll had a very or somewhat favorable opinion of MUNI, while 56% had a somewhat or very negative impression of the San Francisco Municipal Railway.
That is in contrast to San Francisco’s other major public transit system – BART, which enjoyed a net positive rating of 79% very or somewhat favorable and 16% somewhat or very unfavorable.
When it comes to making MUNI run more efficiently, there was widespread agreement on a series of reforms that have been proposed as part of the MUNI’s Transit Effectiveness Project and other reform efforts.
Sixty-eight percent of San Franciscans polled agree that busses and streetcars should be given stop light priority on the roads so they could speed up service by stopping at fewer red lights.
The same percentage said that San Francisco should build more Bus Rapid Transit lanes that speed up service by giving busses a dedicated lane.
Ranking just below these ideas, 64% of respondents said MUNI should allow boarding at both doors of MUNI busses in order to speed up service.
While it’s clear that many support reforms to the MUNI system, there was less agreement on how to raise the revenue needed to implement these changes. When asked about a proposal to charge each San Francisco household between $60 and $180 for a transportation utility fee, 58% were “strongly opposed” compared to just 19% who were “strongly” or “somewhat” in support of the idea.
The most confusion came in response to the proposal that would raise the cost of commercial parking by eliminating discounts, such as monthly discounts or "early bird" discounts in order to increase the amount of parking taxes collected. Forty-six percent of people were in favor of this measure, with 47% opposed and 7% undecided.
Respondents were also largely opposed to the plan to raise more revenue by issuing more parking tickets, with 34% of respondents supporting the plan and 53% opposing the proposal.
The survey also found that 52% of transit riders using the new Clipper Card system reported that they were satisfied with their Clipper Card. When asked specifically what challenges they were facing during the transition to the new transit cards, respondents reported that gates don’t always open when the Clipper Card is used, difficulties in finding a Clipper Card and that the card doesn’t always register.
The poll of over 1700 San Francisco voters found that 52% of people “usually commute” on MUNI, with almost the exact same number saying they ride five or more times per week. Only 7% say their usual commute is on BART. Of the respondents, 16% say they commute by driving, 8% walk to work or school and 6% bike.
The poll itself is conducted online and draws from a sample of San Francisco voters with email addresses. The survey was conducted from February 25 to March 1. Reset San Francisco has been working to use this low cost and rapid way of asking San Franciscans what they think about key issues facing the city.
More polls will be published during the coming year at www.ResetSanFrancisco.org.