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San Francisco Muni Speeds: Transit Effectiveness Project Would Improve Service

By Posted: 03/21/2012 7:54 pm Updated: 03/22/2012 2:51 pm

San Francisco Muni

As The Huffington Post aptly observed last December, it ain't easy being Muni.

San Francisco's public transportation agency has been plagued by ballooning costs, angry riders, and what one city supervisor dubbed a "crisis of management" for years. It's the organization local pundits love to hate. In fact, recent rumors of increased fares have San Francisco's loudest voices drinking the haterade by the gallon.

And then there's the speed. To the chagrin of regular riders, Muni is notoriously slow and seemingly always delayed. "I've gotten stuck so many times that I've considered setting up housekeeping inside," wrote passenger Dan Vojir.

But is there light at the end of the Stockton Tunnel?

A new proposal by Municipal Transportation Agency planners promises to boost travel times on its busiest lines by anywhere from 12 to 28 percent, according to officials. The San Francisco Chronicle outlines the details:

The eight routes proposed for the so-called rapid bus improvements include: J-Church; N-Judah from La Playa to Church Street; 5-Fulton from La Playa to Market Street; 8X-Bayshore Express from Geneva and Ocean avenues to San Bruno and Silver avenues; 14-Mission from Daly City BART Station to the Embarcadero; 22-Fillmore from 16th and Church streets to Third and Church streets; 28-19th Avenue from Junipero Serra Boulevard to California Street, and 30-Stockton from Van Ness Avenue and Chestnut Street to Stockton and Market streets.

Other changes being considered include construction of new bus boarding islands and widened sidewalk boarding zones, creating right turn lanes for nontransit vehicles, prohibiting nontransit vehicles from making turns that impede buses and widening narrow lanes that force buses to use two lanes.

The plan has previously faltered due to budget cuts, but according to the Chronicle, it's been reignited and is currently under environmental review. The agency will host a series of community meetings for riders to sound off on the details beginning at the end of this month.

Meanwhile, Muni officials are also in the process of pushing a measure that would allow for all-door boarding--another effort to improve efficiency. While certain renegade passengers have been boarding buses through the rear door for years (we're looking at you, she-who-will-not-be-named HuffPost SF editor), authorities worry that condoning the policy will lead to even more sneaky travelers looking for a free ride.

"The issue of how to do this with the right level of education and enforcement is the difficult part," Muni Chief Ed Reiskin told the Bay Citizen. "What we don't want to do is spread the message that Muni is free now."

According to the Bay Citizen, fare evasion can cost Muni up to $19 million per year.

What do you think of Muni's plans for a speedier future? Be sure to let us know in the comments, and check out one of the upcoming town halls to air your grievances in person.

Correction: An earlier version of this story suggested the new Muni proposal would increase speeds by more than 30 percent.

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Filed by Carly Schwartz  |