22-Day Muni-Riding Challenge, Day 10: Checking the Score at City Hall

A screenshot of SFTRU's "Leaderboard" showing ride scores, as seen this afternoon.
A screenshot of SFTRU’s “Leaderboard” this afternoon.

We’re nearly halfway into the 22-day Muni riding challenge. How seriously are SF’s elected officials taking their commitment to get familiar with the everyday experience of riding Muni?

Eight supervisors and Mayor Ed Lee signed up for the challenge by the time SFTRU kicked it off on June 1. Based on the tally of onboard tweets reported on the SF Transit Riders Union “Leaderboard,” the ride tally is shaping up about how you’d expect.

The most vocal transit supporters are way out in front: Supervisors Scott Wiener and John Avalos have 38 and 35 rides, respectively — nearly four per day (both started early). In third place is Supervisor David Campos, with 23 rides, followed by Julie Christensen (17) and Eric Mar (8).

On the other end of the spectrum, Mayor Lee and Supervisor Mark Farrell have yet to make good on their last-minute sign-ons. Mayor Lee hasn’t logged a ride since he rode a Muni train with a photographer on day one, and Farrell hasn’t logged a ride at all. Supervisors Malia Cohen and Katy Tang declined to take the challenge.

All told, most officials at City Hall don’t seem to follow the advisory measure enacted by SF voters 22 years ago stating that city officials should ride transit at least twice a week.

“This rule has never been followed, and today we’re just as fed up with Muni as we were in 1993,” wrote SFTRU’s Andy Bosselman in an SF Examiner op-ed last week:

Muni’s vehicles frequently break down because our leaders have allowed more than $2 billion of maintenance costs to pile up…

The Transit Riders’ Union believes that when officials experience Muni like the rest of us, they will take action to fix it. For instance, when a supervisor is forced to wait 18 minutes for a bus or is late for work after getting stuck in the subway behind a broken train, Muni’s poor performance becomes a first-hand experience shared with dozens of his or her own constituents.

Will this be an eye-opening experience for supervisors? Unclear. Here’s what we know from their Twitter feeds:

Supervisor London Breed has only logged two Muni rides but did sample other transit systems during her visits to DC and New York City:

Supervisor Jane Kim, who lives within a 15-minute walk of City Hall, has logged seven rides:

Supervisor Norman Yee, who didn’t officially commit to the challenge because he said he’s a life-long Muni rider, tweeted his second Muni photo today:

  • mx

    So half of our elected officials, including the mayor, can’t be bothered to put on a smile and try riding Muni for a couple of days? What excuse are Lee and Farrell offering up now? Even Kim, who lives within walking distance of City Hall and so has a pretty reasonable excuse for low participation is doing better than these guys.

  • Kyle

    “According to aide Jess Montejano, Farrell needs to drive because he’s busy, and his time in his car with his kids is often “the only time he gets to spend with them.””
    Farrell’s favorite excuse is that automobile = family-friendly.

  • als

    So just to be clear…..When Farrell drives he’s paying attention to his children in the car?

    If that’s the case I feel really really scared.

  • Jay

    Could it be that Mayor Lee can not ride Muni without being bombarded by people?

  • How many would recognize him? The old governor of Massachusetts rode the subway every day to work in the state house. When people did approach him, it was called doing his job and listening to the voter.

  • murphstahoe

    For crying out loud, I have a very demanding tech job and managed to take my kid to preschool on MUNI, including a transfer from Noe Valley to the Excelsior. It was the highlight of my day because in that circumstance I had nothing to do but interact with my son.

  • murphstahoe

    Governing would be freaking great if it weren’t for all those damn constituents.

  • gneiss

    While I don’tknow whether Supervisor Farrell is driving or a passanger, it is disturbing how many people view their car as a mobile living room or office rather than potentially deadly heavy machinery. When you say that you can have quality together time with your children while you are in the drivers seat you are in essence normalizing distracting behaviors, like turning to look at your kids, that have potentially deadly consequences. Many times we hear that parents who looked away from their road at their kids for”just a second” should get a hall pass if they cause an injury or death on the street. I say to Supervisor Farrell, if you want to spend time interacting with your children, please don’t do it while concentrating on not killing your fellow citizens in the city.

  • Althaea

    Everyone below 7 should be recalled. If you are elected to represent and manage a city and cannot do the most basic thing like carry through on a minor commitment to use your city’s public transit network, you totally suck. And not just as an elected representative, also as a human. Fuck you Breed, Yee, Tang, Lee, Farrell, and Cohen. Please resign immediately!

  • Althaea

    BS. The king of – what country is it? I think Norway or Sweden – rides public transit. I think it is failure if a person is so “successful” that they can no longer exist as a normal human. Such people are not qualified to be leaders.

    He could always shave his mustache or wear a hoodie.

  • Althaea

    What an appallingly disgusting excuse, but then again quite typical. “Its for the kids… that I have to rape the environment…”


    Totally unqualified to be a leader. Totally.

  • helloandyhihi

    The mayors of NYC make a point of riding public transit regularly. If they can do it, Ed Lee can, too. He has a security detail.

  • My sincere and heartfelt thanks to those supervisors who have bravely dug in their heels and said no to this challenge. Not once have they gone on Muni, even for a short distant trip within their tiny district! They couldn’t even do it for a photo-op either so they don’t give their vehicle loving constituents the impression that they support the shame cab for poor people.

  • SFnative74

    Pretty sad results…do the Sorry Six in the picture at top care about Muni or the people in this city that take the 700,000 trips on it each day?

  • murphstahoe

    Sometimes it feels like Wiener is the only one of these turkeys who lives in San Francisco

  • M.

    How does it feel to know that most residents of an entire city would throttle you, Bobby?

  • I still have a few motorist allies left! I’m pretty sure London Breed & Mayor Lee would vouch for me given their abysmal ridership this month.

  • Are they campaign donors?

  • “most”? You’re not on Nextdoor, are you?

  • NoeValleyJim

    Most of my time with my kids is with them on the back of the bike. If I can do it, he can do it too.


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