Would you give up your bus stop to help speed up MUNI

Phil Ting's picture

MUNI is one of the slowest transits systems in the country.  One of the main reasons is the number of stops.  Some blocks have two stops on one block.  While every transit efficiency report mentions reducing the numbers of stops the second you mention which stop, there are numerous protests from the people affected.  Think - everyone is fine with bus stops being reduced as long as its not their bus stop.

Would you be willing to walk a few more minutes to help speed up MUNI?

Ben Shore's picture

One word...YES

I moved to the Marina just about two months ago after living in the East Bay for many years. I knew I would need to take MUNI to work (among other places in the City) so I bought my monthly Clipper card (which, for $60, I must say is working out pretty well). But, you just hit the nail on the head with this one, Phil. I was SHOCKED during my first MUNI ride that the bus seemd to stop every few feet. Once I started paying close attention, I realized that it was! We stopped at literally every block all the way down Union until we turn on Colombus. It's an absolutely absurd waste of time. One day when I had to take a much earlier bus, we were able to skip several stops as no one was waiting there for the bus. The ride to work - which usually takes half an hour - took just under 15 minutes. I can't help but think that this type of inefficiency is indicitive of the entire system. I would easily walk an extra block (or two, or three...) if I knew it would save me time on the way to and from work. I'm sure we could eliminate half the MUNI stops in this City, save tons of money and time and people would hardly notice the difference. So would I be willing to walk a few more minutes? Absolutely

Juan Carlos Sanchez's picture

1 California Line Can Use Less Stops

I agree. A few less stops would make my commute much quicker and much, much more convenient. I moved up to San Francisco from Los Angeles where bus stops are rare - so having to walk an additional block to my bus stop won't make much, if any, difference for me.

However, some blocks on the 1 California have a tough incline - even for a young, healthy buck like me. So, I would fine with keeping stops in those areas for the many senior citizens who ride my bus line.

Phil Ting's picture

N Judah

The N Judah stops at every three or four blocks.  These blocks would take no more than three or four minutes to walk.  Currently the N is the most traveled route in the MUNI system.  Yet, if you live at Ocean Beach - it takes more than 45 minutes to reach Embarcadero - a seven mile trip.  If you live in Rockridge and take BART the trip is probably 25 minutes to Embarcadero or Montgomery.

If you ride the N or another train - which stop would you give up?

gcotter's picture

Oh, Yes, Please!

I have been trying for years (nearly 8 years) to get eliminate the bus stop in front of my house.  Neither I nor my neighbors want the stop but have been totally unsuccessful in getting rid of it.  I kept trying to get my Supervisor to help after no luck with Muni, but he did nothing - no surprise.

In fact, I'd like to get rid of the whole 12 Folsom line.  In the past 5 years Harrison has been building new condos, apartments and affordable housing.  Folsom Street has not.  Move the line to Harrison where the increased population can take advantage of it.

But whether it is moved or not, it doesn't need to stop at every other corner.  Every 3 4 or 5 corners would be plenty.  With all the stops it is way too slow.  Even though the 12 Folsom stops right in front of my house, it is faster for me to walk 6 blocks to Bart and take Bart down town than to take the slow, stop at every other corner, 12 Folsom.

I say we A) get rid of the Folsom line by moving it to Harrison or B) change it so that it on;y stops ever 4, 5 or 6 blocks so that it can at least be faster.  Oh, and C) Eliminate the stop at 22nd Street.




I think MUNI has to do or use a comprehensive census of its riders and where the nodes are for where they are traveling to and from across a line the most. Those lines that have a very high concentration of people going from a specific area to another should have a separate line with less stops, busses in the same line with segmented commuter times and less stops, and/or a limited bus like the 38L. No one who actually rides the bus is benefitting from such slow service. 

Phil Ting's picture

Fewer Stops

Thanks for your comments.  Yes - fewer stops would mean faster service and hopefully, faster service would mean more riders and increased revenue and interest in MUNI.  During commute hours, should all the buses be limited type buses with fewer stops and more distance between them?

Ben Shore's picture

MUNI commute hours need fewer stops

I think limiting stops during commute hours benefits everyone. MUNI runs more efficiently, people get places quicker and there's even the added advantage of a little extra exercise walking an extra block or two. Sometimes I'll get off on the street before mine just so I can walk through my neighborhood or get off the bus sooner, it's really not a big deal. I remember my first trip to New York when I was going from Manhattan back to my friend's house in Queens and the subway driver announced our train was now an "express" train. There weren't any groans or people upset, instead I remember people letting out audible cheers. People are generally protective of their "time" and cutting commute times in half would really have a positive impact on riders and the entire MUNI bus system. What are the barriers to making this happen?

SystemGuy's picture

Fewer stops is only one of the solutions

Mr. Ting, as you noted, the N-Judah has three blocks between stops, which is probably appropriate. But a big part of what slows the MUNI rail lines down is the lack of separation on the at-grade segments.

Grade separation is extremely expensive, so I wouldn't necessarily suggest going to that expense. However, good traffic signalling would be one far less expensive option. Most of the at-grade portion of the N-Judah has no traffic signalling at all, forcing stops at the frequent stop signs. And the places that do have traffic signals don't give priority to the rails. Fixing this would substantially reduce the amount of time it takes to get from Ocean Beach to Embarcadero.

At the next level of expense, the busier at-grade stops could also be improved by having raised enclosed stations. This would require people to pay before the vehicle arrives, at which point doors on the railside of the station would open in concert with the corresponding doors on the vehicle. This would make multi-door entrance and egress possible for all users, and would speed the loading and unloading of passengers. The delay improvement here would be smaller, and the cost greater, than the signalling option above, but it might be worth considering after the signalling was done.

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