SFMTA Discusses All-Door Boarding for All Muni Vehicles
The SFMTA Board of Directors met on Tuesday to discuss a proposal that would allow all-door boarding on all Muni vehicles including buses and streetcars. You can see the full SFMTA presentation on all-door boarding here.
Currently all-door boarding is only used on Muni light-rail trains such as the N Judah. A recent Reset San Francisco survey showed 64% of respondents are in favor of Muni allowing boarding at both doors of Muni buses in order to speed up service.
All-door boarding means allowing riders to board through any door on buses when paying with their Clipper Card or holding a transfer ticket. Allowing all-door boarding is expected to help speed up Muni service, which only runs at an average 8 mph, and to supposedly bring Muni’s on-time performance up to its voter-mandated standard of 85% on-time performance. And studies show that 25% of Muni delays are caused by the boarding process.
For an agency facing a $22 million budget deficit for this fiscal year, all-door boarding is a cost effective measure to improve performance and speed, which will in turn generate revenue for Muni – because, when buses come more often and on-time people are more likely to get out of their cars and ride Muni instead.
According to the SFMTA, reducing boarding time is the most cost effective way to reduce travel time. Currently, high traffic buses such as the 1 California, 38 Geary, 14 Mission and 30 Stockton spend about 20 percent of their operating time boarding at bus stops. The SFMTA also argued that allowing all-door boarding is the best way to leverage existing Clipper Card readers at rear doors.
Under all-door boarding, riders paying with cash would still board at the front door to pay the operator and receive a transfer. SFMTA acknowledges there are still issues with all-door boarding, including fare evasion. According to CBS reports, Muni Executive Director Ed Reiskin said that it would likely take until early next year to fully implement the plan, which would also include more fare inspectors on buses. Muni also has plans to install ticket machines on the sidewalk at stops to allow passengers with cash to purchase a ticket prior to boarding. If implemented, SFMTA plans on a comprehensive public information campaign to get Muni riders on board with all-door boarding.
At Reset we’ve been pretty critical of the SFMTA over the past year – but this is the time to give credit where credit is due. While there are necessary steps that must be taken to avoid fare evasion, the basic idea of speeding up boarding and thus the entire system with a simple change is what Reset San Francisco is all about. Sometimes it doesn’t take billions of dollars and decade-long studies to make changes – sometimes it is just simple ideas like letting passengers board from all doors so the buses and streetcars can go faster.
If you agree that all-door boarding will speed up our commutes and make Muni faster and more efficient – sign the petition and we will deliver it to the SFMTA. Stay tuned as we continue to follow this story.