Frequency and on-time performance

ExcelsiorMom's picture

One key to improving MUNI is simple -- improve frequency and on-time performance.  Well I know that is way easier said then done.  But on several of the lines, only modest tweaks would help improve service tremendously.  Take the 44 O'shaughnessy, for example.  The 44 goes from Hunters Point to the Richmond around California St. via Silver Ave, O'shaughnessy, 7th, through Golden Gate Park.  I take it along Silver Ave to get to the Glen Park BART station.  In the morning commute hours during the school year, it rarely stops along Silver Ave in my neighborhood because the bus is already too full.  I either have to walk all the way down to Mission St to catch it (when a whole lot of people get off) or I just walk all the way to the BART station.  This option is OK sometimes, but not OK when it is raining or when I was pregnant.  I can't tell you how infuriating it is to have to stand around on the corner while pregnant, waiting for a bus empty enough to stop to pick you up.  A couple times I had to watch 3 busses go by before one stopped at my stop.  How hard is it really to add a couple buses during peak commute hours??  How is it that I can't get from my neighborhood to the BART station during peak commute hours in a convenient manner? 

Eric Jaye's picture

Share your pain. What is

Share your pain. What is frustrating is how little MUNI seems to track use patterns and respond to them. We have empty equipment serving some lines - and then other lines overflowing. The Transit Effectiveness Project was supposed to address some of these issues, but like so many studies and reports, there seems to be a big gap between the recommendations and the implementation.

It seems like low cost, or even no cost, technology could be used to track usage on a daily basis so the system could respond. It could be as simple as "checking in" on a smart phone to each stop, and then having MUNI analyze that info. If would be somewhat skewed, since not everyone has a cell phone. But almost 90 percent of San Franciscans do - so along with other factors to weight the results - it would be a pretty fast and easy way to see where the load was for any given line and how to adjust to it. 

hsparks's picture

completely unreliable.

I think the N Juda is the best form of public transport in the city, but it's still terrible. It's so bad that friends from New York, London, and Boston, who are accustomed to taking public transport all the time, have complained about the N when staying with me, and have told me that if they lived in SF, they might never take public transportation.

It's completely unreliable, and a trip that should take 15-20 minutes requires an hour and a half of travel time to insure arriving on time for work or meetings downtown. No wonder, in city with one of the most environmentally aware populations, many people choose to compromise their values and drive to work rather than use public transportation.

Phil Ting's picture

frequency, on time and speed

I live off the N Judah and enjoy it when I ride it, but I avoid it if I need to be somewhere on time otherwise I have to leave 15 to 30 mins early just to make sure I get there on time.  It's odd that it takes me more time to ride MUNI the 4 miles to get to work than someone in Oakland riding BART 15 miles.  I wish I lived closer to a BART line which is generally on time and reliable.  I was on another thread about having fewer stops. Maybe having fewer stops would help MUNI become on time and faster.

bobbyh's picture

Better Muni=Less cars

After having lied in New York and Boston, it is such an amazing contrast to live in SF with respect to public transportation.  I notice that the City seems to do all it can to punish drivers through congestion pricing schemes to increasing parking rates everywhere to severely limiting the number of parking spaces with new developments. What the local elected officials don't realize (amazingly) is that you can penalize a driver all you want, but if you don't give that person another reliable option, they will never get out of their car!  I felt no need to own a car in New York or Boston, because I knew that I could get wherever I needed to go by simply using public transportation.  Here in SF however, I absolutely NEED a car because I couldn't imagine relying on Muni to get me to work everyday--I wouldn't have a job for long. 

So before we continue on our crusade against drivers, how about giving them another option?  In fact, I would love to see a policy connecting Muni's on time performance to parking rates in the City.  The less reliable Muni is, the cheaper parking rates,  neighborhood parking passes, and congestion pricing rates should be.  I am no huge fan of cars, but I am a huge fan of getting places on time--I don't care how that happens, Muni or driving. 

Calum Cameron's picture

I agree. Limiting congestion

I agree. Limiting congestion and making the city cleaner is contingent on providing good alternatives to cars. The diversity of transport in San Francisco is excellent but it needs to be more reliable, more regular and more comfortable if people who currently use cars are to be persuaded to use public transport. However, I do think incentives to go public should be coupled with a surcharge for bringing cars into the city. This revenue can be injected back in to the city transport infrastructure to further improve public transport.

Eric Jaye's picture

Same old Story

SF Gate moved a story on line improvements. They all sound good. But they are ideas that have been floated many times before. Problem seems to be in the translation between ideas and implementation.

DonRoss's picture

Simple Solutions

Why not begin to shorten lines and remove overhead wires. Everyone complains about on-time performance, but honestly if we have the technology to create clean energy buses, by not use them and get the buses on the highest run routes, off of the wires.

DonRoss's picture

I actually don't mind the

I actually don't mind the wires, I just mind two or three buses all in a row when you've been waiting forever with no bus in site.

BART v. MUNI....

I always chuckle a bit when people compare speed of Muni v. that of BART.    BART is true Rapid Transit - High speed - limited stops - defined schedule.    Muni is really none of those - High speed underground (most of the time) - limited stops only for Limited service lines or Express lines, unless you're under-ground.   The N-Judah - above ground is really no different from a bus (for the most part).   Runs on the street along with other traffic (auto/bike/foot), and a stop about every block.   Not so rapid transit.


I use Muni for most all of my transportation needs, but I know that it's going to take me a lot longer.   I've just gotten used to it.  


Biggest issue - SCHEDULE.     I love it when a bus is supposed to run every 15 minutes, and you'll see on nextmuni that the next bus will arrive in 32minutes, followed by another bus just 2 minutes after that.

Paid for by Phil Ting for Assembly 2012. FPPC ID# 1343137