London Breed urges analysis of NextBus outage

Supervisor London Breed is calling upon officials from San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency to explain what exactly went wrong during the NextBus outage.

Breed said during Tuesday’s San Francisco Board of Supervisors meeting that it had been a difficult month for Muni and its riders because of the outage.

The outage left thousands of Muni riders at transit shelters and in the subway without any idea on when the next bus or train would arrive for weeks, said Breed:

“It left people waiting unfairly and unnecessarily in the cold, in the rain, and it shook confidence in the public transit system on which 700,000 riders rely on daily.”

Breed said she is working with the SFMTA in the coming days and asking for “forensic analysis” of what went wrong with the NextBus system and how the transit agency is going to improve the system moving forward:

“This should have never happened in the first place.”

Even when NextBus is working, Breed said the system still is inaccurate in giving arrival time predictions and the all too familiar “ghost buses” where NextBus will show a bus arriving, but the bus never shows up.

Breed said:

“Muni needs to do better.”

Officials at the SFMTA have said that the outage was due to the AT&T 2G wireless cellular network shutting off, which the telecom company planned for sometime.

The SFMTA wrote on its website that the transit agency knew of the shutoff of the outdated network in 2012, but had thought it had more time to upgrade equipment inside Muni vehicles.

For weeks, SFMTA staff and from NextBus have been scrambling to install new modems inside Muni vehicles as drivers pulls in at the end of the service.

Ed Reiskin, the SFMTA’s director of transportation, apologized to Muni riders last week.

SFMTA spokesperson Paul Rose told SFBay last week that the transit agency expects to restore 100 percent of arrival time predictions sometime this week.