Improving Public Transportation

I take public transportation every day and I could go on and on about the problems existing in the current system here in San Francisco with MUNI. With the amount of money the City puts into MUNI every year, you would think they could come up with a dependable system.

In the morning, I took this one line which is always packed. Usually, the bus will be filled to the rim and pass my stop without picking up any passengers which gets me royally pissed. Not only that, the same bus coming back down the other direction is totally empty. Complaints have been filed with MUNI but they still haven’t moved those buses from the other direction onto the crowded direction.

Now, I am forced to walk almost two miles to take another line that is only available in the wee hours of the morning. There are also issues with that line as well. The bus takes the freeway to get downtown which is a plus. But, there are two freeway entries it passes by. I wait at the second and last freeway entry. I’ve seen the bus take the first freeway entry and totally bypass the last bus stop too many times. Then I end up just walking to BART which is another mile.

It’s not all bad though. I’ve seen some improvements lately. Just today, the bus I was riding had one of it’s stops moved from before the red light to after the red light. This may seem like a small thing, but the change benefits not only the bus but also the motorists behind the bus. When a bus stop is at the end of a block before a light, the bus is pretty much holding up traffic for two light changes worth of time. The right-most lane they take up is usually the turn lane as well.

If the bus stop is moved to the beginning of a block, then the turn lane is free for the motorists. Also, if the bus hits the red light, the driver can open the doors to let people out. This stops the crazy exiting/entering pushing and shoving that occurs on crowded stops. There has been so many instances where people need to transfer to another bus but the bus is stalled at a red light with the bus stop across the street. Give the drivers the ability to let passengers off during a red light!

Also, MUNI needs to do a study on which lines need priority during rush hour. BART gets it; they run more trains during the morning and afternoon hours. MUNI seems to do the opposite; they run more buses during off-hours for the busy lines and less during rush hour.

Taking a look at the City’s budget as applied to the Municipal Transportation Agency (page 105 in the PDF), the agency received $686 million in funds. A little bit less than half of that goes towards salaries. Then another $112 million goes toward “Mandatory Fringe Benefits”. What the hell are fringe benefits? Don’t city workers already get the most holidays for any job in existence? $4 million goes towards MUNI Service Delivery & Operations. $5 million goes toward Transportation Planning & Development. So essentially, out of the entire $686 million going to the Transportation Agency, less than $10 million are going towards actually improving MUNI. That, my friends, is total bullshit.

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