There’s a reason Muni’s 21-Hayes still stops twice on the block between Central and Masonic Avenues — the owner of the cafe on the corner of Central demands it.
The SFMTA announced last week that it will ditch plans to remove the inbound bus stop at Central, after a persistent protest campaign by the owner Central Coffee, who insists the stop keeps him in business. As a result, bus commuters will continue to slog through the North of Panhandle neighborhood.
SFMTA Director Ed Reiskin said “we are no longer recommending” removal in an email blast last Friday. Approval of the stop removal was taken off the SFMTA Board of Directors’ Tuesday agenda.
The decision was made “based on community feedback” and a push from D5 Supervisor London Breed, according to Reiskin’s email. In a statement, Breed said she “received many neighborhood concerns about the removal of the Hayes/Central bus stop.”
“The large community contingent requested SFMTA staff and directors to keep the bus stop on Central and Hayes,” she said. “For my part, I asked SFMTA to listen to the neighbors concerns about removing the bus stop. And to look for creative solutions to address their concerns while implementing Muni Forward.”
Under Muni Forward, the SFMTA is starting to implement stop consolidations along some routes. Protests against have typically come from seniors and the disabled riders near each individual stop — not merchants.
Reiskin wrote in the email:
As we work to improve Muni citywide, selective bus stop removal is one of many tools in our toolbox to reduce travel times and create a more efficient public transit network. By optimizing the location of bus stops and reducing the number of stops, we can improve service for customers, reduce conflicts between buses and other vehicles, improve safety for people walking and bicycling, and decrease the amount of time buses spend stopped at stoplights.
In 2009, Muni reported that 70 percent of Muni stops are closer than its own policies dictate. A 2010 SFMTA survey found that 61 percent of riders said they would consider walking farther if it made their overall trip faster and more reliable.