Which Muni Lines Will be the Next to Go?

With California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger poised to raid transit funds yet again, and the MTA facing a mid-year budget in the tens of millions, it’s looking increasingly likely that the December 2009 service changes will soon look relatively benign compared to what lies ahead.

In light of this, SF Appeal had the guts to look into the eye of the storm and identify which lines are most in danger of getting axed or reduced in the next round of cuts: "These predictions are based largely on a ‘report card’ that Muni recently released, featuring data about all of its routes: ridership levels, on-time performance, daily cost, and more," writes Appeal reporter Matt Baume. "We crunched those numbers, analyzed past performance, and developed an algorithm that assigns a ‘health rating’ to each Muni line."

Here’s what they came up with:

The line with the lowest health: the 39-Coit. It’s unlikely that the line would be eliminated altogether, but recent analysis by Muni indicates that they may cut the number of buses assigned to the line from two to one.

The 24-Divisadero is also perilously high on the list. The recent streetscape improvements may speed up service; and Muni may see that as justification for reducing the number of vehicles to the route. One of the main problems with the 24 is its expense: it costs $41,730 per day, or $3.90 per passenger. That means that Muni loses $1.90 every time you board the 24.

The passengers on the 24 aren’t Muni’s most heavily subsidized; that honor goes to the 56-Rutland, where Muni pays a startling $9.70 subsidy for each of the 200 daily riders.

Not a single line is "revenue positive," the Appeal notes, though critical transportation infrastructure rarely is. Unlike subsidies for highways and parking, of course, transit funding often looks like an appealing target for legislators who rarely ride it themselves and need to balance a budget.

While the December 2009 service changes were largely informed by the Transit Effectiveness Project, and in some cases were even revenue neutral, future changes will almost certainly cut deeper to the bone. Check out SF Appeal’s full Muni line risk chart.


Muni TEP Meeting: J-Church Colored Transit Lane Pilot

From SFMTA: SFMTA COMMUNITY MEETING – PILOT PROJECT TO TEST RED TRANSIT-ONLY LANES ON CHURCH STREET Join your neighbors and staff from the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) to share your input on a proposed pilot project to improve Muni service. Beginning in September 2012 the SFMTA, which operates Muni, proposes a pilot project […]

Next steps for Muni

From SPUR: The Transit Effectiveness Project (TEP) was the first system-wide Muni study undertaken in a generation to make transit more convenient for current customers and attract new customers. Among the goals of the TEP are to improve the reliability and efficiency of Muni, reduce travel times and improve the customer experience. Hear John Haley, director […]

The Impact of Poor Muni Service on Transit-Dependent San Franciscans

A new video from People Organized to Win Employment Rights (POWER) highlights the impact of unreliable and unaffordable transit on low-income San Franciscans who rely on Muni. In San Francisco, “transportation is a dividing line of access and opportunity for African American, Latino, Asian and Pacific Islander communities who have the highest transit dependency in […]

MUNI Hearing- Safety First for Transit System

From Supervisor Elsbernd: "The City Operations and Neighborhood Services Committee will hold a hearing examining MUNI safety standards for bus and train operators … in response to the July 18 MUNI accident at West Portal Station that injured more than 40 passengers. The need for a hearing on this subject was made even more evident […]

Supervisor Wiener Calls Hearings to Assess the Cost of Muni Delays

Just how bad is Muni? And is it getting any better? Supervisor Scott Wiener has called for monthly reports from the SF Municipal Transportation Agency and the City Controller’s Office to tally up the true cost of transit delays and track progress on Muni’s reliability. The regular reports to the Land Use and Economic Development Committee would […]