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MTA Releases Revised Budget Proposal, List of Muni Service Cuts

2293719539_4b188bbe89.jpgFlickr photo: Steve Rhodes

The Municipal Transportation Agency has released a revised budget proposal for the 2009-2010 fiscal year that calls for eliminating up to nine bus routes, and scaling back service on as many as 29 routes, including some popular lines, in a series of cost-cutting moves that would help Muni close a $129 million budget gap.

The document, released late Thursday, narrows down the list of options to be presented to the MTA Board at its meeting on Tuesday. It proposes a 50 cent fare hike for adult single rides beginning September 1st, from the current $1.50 to $2.00, eliminating the option for a lower 25 cent increase. The cost of a monthly fast pass is already scheduled to go up from $45 to $55 on July 1st, and the latest proposal would tack on another $5, making it $60 beginning in January 2010.

In addition, a proposal is on the table to charge 50 cents for all transfers, an option brought up by some members of the MTA Board.

MTA staff has also proposed three scenarios for eliminating routes and segments of routes and reducing service. Option 3 proposes the deepest cuts -- a 6.3 percent reduction in service hours -- amounting to $17.8 million in savings. (Download this PDF for the complete budget document and list of proposed service reductions and modifications).

"There's no doubt that these options, especially option three, would significantly reduce service to Muni customers," said MTA spokesperson Judson True, who added that where possible, alternative service has been identified and will be improved to make up for reduced service.

Many of the routes proposed for elimination in Options 2 and 3 mirror options that have already been outlined in the Transit Effectiveness Project (TEP). Those routes are the 3-Jackson, 7-Haight, 16AX Noriega A Express,  20-Columbus, 26-Valencia, 53-Southern Heights, 74X-Culture Bus and 89-Laguna Honda. The 4-Sutter would be eliminated in Options 1 and 2 but the 3-Jackson would remain.

"The proposed service cuts do not represent the implementation of the TEP, which was designed to increase service on the busiest corridors in the Muni system," said True. "The proposals, though, are informed by data and public input collected in the planning phase of the TEP. These are more informed cuts than any previous cut package developed by Muni." 

In addition, segments of routes would be eliminated on some lines, including the N-Judah (weekend service on the Embarcadero), 1-California (south of Market on weekdays only), 2-Clement (between Park Presidio and 33rd), 29 Sunset (in the Presidio north of Baker Beach), 36-Teresita (Monterey/Forester to Balboa Park BART), 41-Union (between Lyon and Steiner), 67-Bernal Heights (on portions of Crescent and Mission), 88-BART Shuttle (west of I-280), and 108-Treasure Island (between Transbay Terminal and Caltrain).

The budget proposal also outlines potential cuts within the MTA. Instead of freezing positions, the latest proposal calls for the elimination of up to 370 jobs to save $32 million annually, but the agency would continue hiring front line positions. Some workers could also be forced to take a one-day-a-month furlough, designed to save up to $24 million a year. 

"Fundamentally we do not want to move in this direction," said True, who stressed the agency will continue looking at better service delivery practices and reducing transit delays, despite budget constraints.

"Everything is still on the table and we don't know what the final budget balancing package will look like." 

The MTA Board will consider declaring a fiscal emergency in order to implement the cuts and service reductions this year, a formality that would allow the agency to get around environmental review.  

Here are dates and locations for the upcoming hearings and meetings:

    • Tuesday, April 7, 2 p.m., MTA Board of Directors Meeting and Public Hearing, City Hall, Room 400
    • Tuesday, April 14, 9 a.m, MTA Board of Directors Policy and Governance Committee, One South Van Ness Avenue, 2nd Floor Atrium Conference Room
    • Saturday, April 18, 10 a.m to 2 p.m, MTA Information Meeting on Proposals to Balance Budget, One South Van Ness Avenue, 2nd Floor Atrium Conference Room
    • Tuesday, April 21, 2 p.m., MTA Board of Directors Meeting and Public Hearing, City Hall, Room 400
    • Thursday, April 30, 2 p.m, Special MTA Board of Directors Meeting on Fiscal Year 2010 Budget, City Hall, Room 400

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