Muni bumps up service in underserved neighborhoods

Muni has started implementing service improvements on many routes in neighborhoods where there is a high usage of public transit use by low-income residents, seniors and people with disabilities.

In a six-month report since the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency Board of Directors adopted its first Muni Equity Strategy in April 2016, officials said they have made progress in implementing a number of improvements on several Muni routes.

Julie Kirschbaum, SFMTA”s operations planning and scheduling manager, said the strategy adopted by the board focused on evaluating routes in seven neighborhoods.

The seven neighborhoods are in Outer Mission/Excelsior, Visitacion Valley, Bayview, Mission, Western Addition, Tenderloin/SOMA and Chinatown.

Officials monitored Muni service in those neighborhoods throughout the day including the off-peak times especially for passengers who may not have the typical 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. job, said Kirschbaum:

“We’re not only looking at our services performing in our peak period but also how it’s performing at 10 p.m. and even overnight.”

With the policy only adopted six months ago, Kirschbaum said that a number of improvements have already been implemented:

“We’ve got a lot of stuff on the ground as really responding to the key needs.”

One example she gave was the addition of 60-foot buses on the 30-Stockton to deal with overcrowding and increasing the 1-Caifornia service during the peak period.

The transit agency also extended the contra-flow lane in the southbound direction in August of this year on Sansom Street between Broadway and Washington streets to improve the reliability and travel time of the 10-Townsend and 12-Folsom.

In the Western Addition, transit-only lanes are among the improvements for the 22-Fillmore, which the SFMTA board approved earlier this year in January.

The Bayview is another part of The City that transit officials are focusing on in improving service on the T-Third line. Kirschbaum said the transit agency will pilot a left turn safety signal on Third Street to warn drivers that a train is approaching a transit stop. Fourth and King streets is another bottleneck that transit agency is looking at in making improvements.

Transit officials are planning on future improvements including adding service to the 29-Sunset during the peak period, reducing overcrowding on the 8AX-Bayshore and making travel and reliability improvements on the 27-Bryant.

Kirschbaum said staff have been working with community groups, Muni riders and operators on what currently is working and not working on many of the routes.

Board Director Joél Ramos said it was important for the transit agency in future to create benchmarks and indicators to show how effective some of these changes are to Muni riders:

“Because we do want to make sure that as were changing things up and accommodating people’s needs that they’re speaking out about, we’re responding appropriately.”

Officials will continue to outreach to Muni riders in the seven neighborhoods from now until the summer of next year.