Transit Advocates Gearing up for Friday’s MTA Board Vote

flyer.jpgClick for full-size PDF: The Transit Not Traffic coalition is distributing flyers to transit supporters.
Friday could be a dark day for San Francisco's public transit system: The MTA Board is set to vote on a ten percent cut in service and increases to several monthly passes in order to cover a $16.9 million budget deficit. But transit supporters are organizing in force to push the Board to consider other options for balancing the budget.

A broad coalition of groups is coming together to oppose the measures, including Livable City, Walk SF, Chinatown Community Development Center, Visitacion Valley Asian Alliance, Urban Habitat, SFBC, MUNI First!, the Central City SRO Collaborative, SEIU 1021, and others, said the SFBC's Marc Caswell. It's a temporary revival of the Transit Not Traffic coalition that helped pass Proposition A and defeat Proposition H in 2007.

The coalition's purpose, said Caswell, is to push for a five-point plan that includes stopping service cuts and fare hikes, charging city employees to park at work, extending parking meter enforcement hours, and not scapegoating riders or bus drivers.

"We're saying there are revenue sources and there is a good way to make this work, but we're trying to make sure we don't instead pass the buck onto riders and continue to raise fares while cutting service," he said.

More than 700 people have sent letters to the Mayor and MTA Board through the SFBC's website opposing service cuts. The bike organization is encouraging members to show up to the meeting as well.

Dave Snyder, who's organizing a more permanent Muni riders coalition, said the new group will likely have a name by the end of the day Friday. The group's steering committee, made up of representatives from numerous groups that support progressive transportation policy in the city, will be have its first meeting on Friday, and choosing a name is on the agenda.

In the meantime, Snyder is encouraging Muni supporters to visit the nascent organization's temporary home on the web at muniriders.org. It's not a permanent web site, said Snyder, but people interested in joining the group can sign up now.

"It's not just for people who ride Muni regularly, but anyone who wants to see a robust transit service in San Francisco," said Snyder.

The MTA Board will vote on the measures at its meeting Friday, at City Hall in Room 400. The meeting starts at 9 a.m. You can also easily email the MTA Board and the Mayor through SFBC's transit page.