Today’s Headlines

  • 15 Hospitalized in Crash Between Muni Bus and Trolley on Market (SFGate, ABC, CBS)
  • BART Unveils the Design of Its New Train Fleet (KTVU)
  • BART Looks to Make Its Existing Trains Quieter (SF Examiner)
  • BART Set to Approve Balanced Budget Today, Though Shortfalls Loom (SF Examiner)
  • This Truck Ruined a Home in the Excelsior: A New Favorite Selling Point for Toyota (SF Weekly)
  • $82,000 Parking Space in South Beach Still a Real Estate Bargain (SF Chronicle)
  • Uber Unveils Prices Intended to Undercut Taxis and Competitors (SF Examiner)
  • Crime Happens Everywhere, But KTVU Just Can’t Help But Play Up the “Dangerous Transit” Angle
  • Watch: Dodging an Elderly Driver Speeding Backwards Down a Sidewalk in San Rafael (MIJKTVU)
  • Belmont Becomes Third Bay Area City to Vote to Remove Red-Light Cameras (CBS, NBC)
  • Berkeley Continues to Develop an SFPark-Style Pilot Program (Berkeleyside)
  • Bay Area Legislators Question Potential Bonus Incentives for Speedier Bay Bridge Opening (Sac Bee)

More headlines at Streetsblog Capitol Hill

  • Mario Tanev

    Why does BART which has fewer riders have a significantly higher budget than Muni? Perhaps voters are willing to fund rapid transit, but not as willing to fund a slow mess. Muni should really get in front of it and be the biggest champion for rapid transit and lay out a big vision (and even showcase that the costs are smaller compared to BART, so none of that “don’t fund Muni” nonsense). Right now they don’t champion any vision and the public has no reason to think big.

  • Anonymous

    I think part of this will also be building a narrative that shows how Muni has been underfunded throughout its history, especially (and ironically) since transit first policy was added to the city charter. A lot of people think muni is overfunded or just needs to be better managed, when it actually needs more money for straight-forward things like buying/repairing trains and buses or upgrading infrastructure.

  • Per

    I think you answered your own question, Mario. When you can travel from 24th Street to Embracadero by BART is rapid, safe comfort for $1.75 or take your life in your hands on a ponderously slow, crowded, smelly slow number 14 bus for $2, what are you going to choose?

    The cynic in my attributes the contrast to the fact that BARt is a multi-county agency, and so less vulnerable to dysfunctional San Francisco politics.

  • Anonymous

    yes, only san francisco has dysfunctional politics. Not Alameda or Contra Costa counties, never!

  • Jeffrey Baker

    I think it’s important to not be trapped into fighting over the scraps of transit funding, but rather increasing the overall amount of transit funding. We should be glad BART, which let’s face it has a pretty high ridership, has funding.

  • Ted King

    Please do NOT repeat the sloppiness of the writers at the Chronicle / SFGate. The other two links used a more accurate title that replaced the word “trolley” with “streetcar”. The title used by SFGate and you could be interpreted as a collision between two buses – a diesel and an ETB (electric trolley bus).

    Some of the pictures in the gallery at SFGate make it clear that a PCC streetcar is something of a tank compared to the bus it hit. The streetcar seems undamaged while the bus has its rear end cratered.

  • davistrain

    “Trolley” is a common term for “Trolley Bus” in England. In the US “Trolley” is a common term for “Electric Streetcar” (us old timers remember the “Toonerville Trolley” cartoons, featuring a decrepit single truck trolley car). The term has also been applied (much to my annoyance) to diesel buses with fake streetcar bodies used for short-haul local transportation.

  • Per

    davistrain,

    The difference is that “trolley buses” in the UK NEVER go underground. They are purely a surface-level bus replacement. Whereas Muni’s streetcars do run underground and, in fact, that is where they work best.

  • Andy Chow

    Muni gets a lot of money but it doesn’t spend it very wisely. Muni is too politicized and it is easier for companies and individuals to create Muni alternatives (shuttles, illegal taxis, etc) rather than to improve Muni. Things that could improve Muni such as contracting and removing bus stops are considered to be a political taboo.

    However the biggest problem is not within Muni’s control. Things like increasing healthcare costs and pensions, etc are due to changes in the economy and the failure to create a sustainable healthcare system. However tackling that issue is difficult especially with unions.

  • Anonymous

    Muni need more money AND much better management. Poor management is probably the root cause of its drivers’ morale problems resulting in 15% or more absenteeism. I don’t know the agency from the inside out, however, so I don’t know who or what exactly needs to be changed.

  • Anonymous

    We need a counter narrative to Andy Chow’s comment and union-bashers in general of “Muni get lots of money but they misuse it… grumble grumble, greedy unions.” Even if that’s true, that assertion doesn’t fully counter the argument that Muni needs more money to improve service.

    I think Mario’s idea is that Muni should give us a vision worthy of raising the spending level to “enough” and help open the conversation about what that might be. No matter how “politicized” muni might be, if it costs hundreds of millions of dollars to get new equipment and upgrade infrastructure, then they need hundreds of millions of dollars. That’s not a labor or a union issue, and in some ways not even a management issue other than the bigger question of “why does infrastructure cost so much in the US compared to other countries” but even that goes far beyond management.

  • Richard Mlynarik

    We need a counter narrative to …

    “Narratives”: for when “facts” are absent.

  • Per

    CBBW,

    You lose much of your audience as soon as you dismiss any criticism of Muni’s bloated cost structure as “union bashing”.

    It’s fairly well known that public sector workers have ridiculously better healthcare and pension benefits than those of us in the private sector who pay for all of that. And on top of that, private sector bus operators earn considerably less than Muni operators.

    Throw in the fact that Muni fares have doubled in the last 10 years and you are really stretching credibility to argue that somehow we haven’t thrown enough money at Muni. The truth is that we have given far too much and received far too little in return.

  • Andy Chow

    It’s not really a union or no-union issue. Even private contract operators like MV Transportation have unions. It is that politicians tend not to be as cost-conscious and more easily to give in to union demands.

    Muni spends too much time planning and not enough on implementation. I think the community expects too much by demanding that everything be studied in detail before anything is done. Do TEP projects really need to do an EIR? If Muni needs to spend 2 years and hundreds of thousands on consultant fees (to hire a biologist to look up a database and find there’s no endangered species impacted by the project) do an EIR to even increase or speed up service modestly, private companies can run more buses in an instant.

    It is not one thing, but many things that resulted in this situation, but with the same main theme: that riders do not drive transit policies. Unions, NIMBYs, and consultants have more influence than riders do. Riders have to stand up to protects its interest (rather than pretending that unions, NIMBYs and consults share the same interest).

  • Do TEP projects really need to do an EIR?

    You apparently never heard of Rob Anderson.

  • @mariotanev:disqus – It boils down to the funding priorities of the MTC, which has long followed the paradigm of prioritizing money for car use. BART was designed to help white-flight suburbanites drive through sprawl, park for free, and get a train to their downtown jobs, so it fit right into these same priorities. Trends are shifting, but not fast enough.

  • • BART’s new train car design has three flip-up seats vying for the same space as bike parking. One butt on one of these three seats will displace all bike carriage. It makes no sense.

    BART already tried this out: http://flic.kr/p/9bUQY8 Unsurprisingly, it didn’t work, so they removed the flip-up seats. Why are they wasting our money trying it out again?

  • Andy Chow

    I prefer having that space for 4 bikes similar to Caltrain with no flip-up seats. Unlike the disabled people, there’s no law to require other riders to give up seats.

  • Anonymous

    Narratives are arrangements of true or false information in coherent form. No need to dismiss the word when it’s central to human understanding.