22-Day Muni-Riding Challenge, Day 10: Checking the Score at City Hall
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:
Muni serves many purposes & given my crazy schedule it sometimes doubles as an office 4 me. #MuniChallenge #OnBoardSF pic.twitter.com/hETJo4oMUV
— Scott Wiener (@Scott_Wiener) June 5, 2015
Had nice ride on the 49. Now on Bart to @MTCBATA mtng. #OnBoardSF pic.twitter.com/2Ck6UfAPUB
— David Campos (@DavidCamposSF) June 10, 2015
Strategizing Transit policy w/ #SF @sfcta‘s @tilly_chang while riding @sfmta_muni & @SFBART! Thx #OnBoardSF & @SFTRU! pic.twitter.com/M6xQYF9BUv
— Eric Mar (@ericmar415) June 4, 2015
Supervisor London Breed has only logged two Muni rides but did sample other transit systems during her visits to DC and New York City:
Not #sfmuni. Taking the subway. It’s the only way to travel in NYC. Trains are clean, very spacious and yes crowded. pic.twitter.com/fcWj17bOdV
— London Breed (@londonbreed) May 24, 2015
Supervisor Jane Kim, who lives within a 15-minute walk of City Hall, has logged seven rides:
Rode my fave line 5R downtown capturing SF @Warriors pride! #OnBoardSF (Thanks SFMTA for 2 way McAllister upgrade!) pic.twitter.com/hBW0UJkSJd
— Jane Kim (@SupeJaneKim) June 9, 2015
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:
Waiting for #47 Van Ness. It only took 2 minutes. Trying to get in the hang of taking #selfies #OnBoardSF @sfmta_muni pic.twitter.com/HZCJ1vrJT0
— Norman Yee (@NormanYeeSF) June 10, 2015