The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency announced Thursday that Julie Kirschbaum will lead the day-to-day operations of Muni as the transit agency’s first female director of transit.
Kirschbaum had been the acting director of transit since last October when her predecessor John Haley retired from the SFMTA following allegations of sexual harassment.
Malcolm Heinicke, who chairs the SFMTA Board of Directors of statement, said in a statement praising her responsiveness to the board and public’s concerns over Muni:
“Julie is a transit expert and she has taken responsibility for the issues that have occurred on her watch so far. I respect her candor and tenacity and I am confident she will give it her all to bring the changes we need to make our system better.”
The past several months have been a bumpy road for Kirschaum, who is currently dealing with a number of safety and mechanical issues with the new Muni trains, an ongoing operator shortage, and just recently, a major subway incident that last for approximately 13 hours late last month.
Despite all of the problems the transit agency is facing, outgoing SFMTA Director of Transportation Ed Reiskin believe she is the right person for the job:
“Julie has immense knowledge, talent and passion that can bring a new approach to leading the Transit division. I am confident that she is the right leader as Muni continues to move forward.”
Kirschbaum has 20 years of transportation experience and was previously the SFMTA’s chief transportation officer and also led the redesign of the entire Muni system through the transit agency’s plan called the Transit Effectiveness Project, now known as Muni Forward.
Kirschbaum said in a statement:
“While we have a lot of work to do, the steps we are taking now will help improve the system for everyone. If we remain committed to putting our riders first, replacing and expanding our fleet, continuing to invest in maintenance and ensuring our system is in a state of good repair, we will provide San Francisco with the world class system it deserves.”