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Mayor, Supes jump aboard 22-day Muni challenge

Muni riders may start noticing San Francisco politicians taking and posting selfies of themselves on buses and trains on their Twitter accounts starting today and for the next 22 days.

The selfies on Muni is the start of the Muni 22-Day Challenge, which asks city officials to ride Muni for the next 22 days. The challenge was issued last month by the San Francisco Transit Riders Union, a public transportation advocacy group, to bring awareness that 22 years have passed since Proposition AA passed, which stated that city officials public transportation at least twice a week. It was a nonbinding policy.

Thea Selby, chair of transit riders union, said she hopes the challenge will bring transportation infrastructure to the front of Supervisors’ priorities:

“When city officials regularly ride public transportation, they prioritize funding on more reliable, robust and visionary transit system to support it.”

Selby cited the recent achievements of a $500 million transportation bond passing last year in November by voters to support transit initiatives in the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, but said the transit agency needs more help:

“This is the type of capital support we will need to make Muni an excellent transportation service for the growing San Francisco.”

Mayor Ed Lee and supervisors John Avalos, London Breed, David Campos, Julie Christensen Mark Farrell, Jane Kim, Eric Mar and Scott Wiener have publicly announced that they will join the 22-day challenge.

Lee took to his first photo this morning on a Muni train. Other supervisors have already started posting photos of themselves on Muni buses and trains last month.

He also announced Monday that his his proposed  2015-2016 and 2016-2017 budget will include hiring more SFMTA staff including drivers, mechanics and cleaning crews. Last month, Lee announced more funding for the SFMTA.

Selby said supervisors Malia Cohen and Katy Tang declined the challenge. Supervisor Norman Yee has been taking photos of himself on the K-Ingleside. Selby said she’s is taking that as his announcement of participating in the challenge.

Another reason why the group issued the challenge was to have city officials experience the daily life of a Muni rider, said Selby:

“When you ride Muni, you better understand the rider’s daily experiences.”

She said the challenge will help city officials who do not often ride Muni familiarize themselves with the transit system.

Some supervisors had an easier time getting to City Hall this morning like Mar on Muni who only had to endure a 10-minute ride on the 5R-Fulton. Other supervisors like Kim and Avalos had a different experience than Mar.

Kim waited 21 minutes for 19-Polk bus and Avalos hopped on the wrong train thanks to the NextMuni sign giving the wrong train information.

Despite all the setbacks, delays and meltdowns, Wiener said it’s the way he has got around the last 18 years along with hundreds and thousands of other people:

“We’re today to make sure to keep the momentum going to improve our public transportation system.”

Riders can keep track of each supervisor and the mayor by looking up the hashtag #OnBoardSF on Twitter. The transit riders union is also keeping track on its website how many times each supervisor rides Muni between now and June 22.

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