Massive Muni service boost arrives this month

Muni riders who are enjoying the service increases from last April should know that more relief is coming to ease crowding Muni vehicles.

A second wave of service increases will make its way to riders starting Sept. 26, the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency and Mayor Ed Lee announced last Friday.

The first set of Muni service increases took effect in April, which included increased frequencies of the morning and evening express buses, more service during the midday and running the heavily used 38R-Geary on weekends. The increase benefited 165,000 daily riders, the transit agency said.

The new service increase in September includes more frequent service on 10 routes, putting bigger buses on routes with overcrowding issues and reconfiguring routes so riders can make better connections.

Muni’s increase in service and changes to routes are part of the Muni Forward project – the transit agency’s blueprint to improve service throughout the entire system. Transit officials are planning for another service increase within the next year, totaling the combined service increase to 10 percent, the transit agency said.

Lee said in a statement that the Muni Forward initiative:

“… is the most significant service improvement in decades, and riders will see better service, reliability and cleanliness as a result.Muni is making good on its promise, having already added 19,850 hours of increased service with 116 new buses on the street, with even more service and new environmentally friendly 60-foot buses on the way.”

More service

Muni officials plan to increase morning and evening frequency on the 21-Hayes and 43-Masonic and increase frequency all day on the 9R-San Bruno, 22-Fillmore, 24-Divisadero and 57-Parkmerced. The 1-California will also have increased daytime service on the weekends, arriving every seven minutes instead of eight, the transit agency said.

Subway riders will also see a slight boost in service. K-Ingleside/T-Third riders will get two extra one-car trains for service during the morning and evening commutes. An extra two-car train will also be added to the N-Judah route during the morning commute.

Officials will put its new 60-foot trolley and hybrid buses in good use as more of them continue to arrive into the City. Lee said 37 new vehicles will arrive next month with more planned to arrive every week for the next 18 months.

The 14X-Mission will go back to the 60-foot bus length, allowing more room for passengers, said SFMTA Director of Transportation Ed Reiskin in a statement.

“A key commitment of Muni Forward is reducing crowding on Muni’s heaviest used routes.”

Riders on the 1AX-California will also benefit from the new buses as the transit agency plans to use them temporarily during the morning commute.

New routes

The 9R-San Bruno service will extend to cover all local stops made by the 9-San Bruno in Visitacion Valley and service extended to the Ferry Plaza on nights and weekends.

Officials are changing the 43-Masonic route to include the Presidio Transit Center and the 28R-19th Avenue to include the area of Chestnut and Fillmore streets.

The 18-46th Avenue and 57-Parkmerced routes will also be reconfigured. The 18 route will no longer go around Lake Merced. Instead, the 57 route, which already makes connections to the Muni Metro West Portal Station, Stonestown Galleria and San Francisco State University, will go around the lake and make a new stop at the Daly City BART Station.

Riders on the 29-Sunset will also see a change in its route. The 29 route will continue on Ocean Avenue instead of its current route on Geneva Avenue and Mission Street.

The transit agency said riders will be able to save up to three minutes a trip from this new route configuration on the 29.

Muni is expanding the route on the 7X-Noreiga from Market and Fourth streets to Steuart Street.

Service delivery

Muni’s overall on-time performance has been steady at around 60 percent, which is still below the City’s mandated goal of 85 percent.

But, officials said the transit agency has put out more scheduled service for riders, reaching a record high of 99.5 percent in May, said John Haley, director of transit:

“Equally noteworthy, our operator shortage has been resolved and the fleet investment is paying off.”