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From your lips to the MTA Board's ears!

One note to point out: the cambios significantes, widely acknowledged to be the largest change to the system in 30 years, only saved around $3 million. The budget hole this year is definitely upward of $25 million and could be much, much more.

Even if cambios that are equally significante are put in place again, there still needs to be major new revenue sources, and IMHO the MTS Board should be focusing its efforts there.

Not to mention the wasted effort and money spent on rider education, signage changes, driver training, etc. as a result of two major system changes within a year.


Hmph. I still believe that large urban agencies like SF and NYC aren't trying very hard to achieve actual cost savings when workers are getting generous raises on top of benefits packages that are unheard of in the real world, and the rest of us are getting... service cuts. This situation can't last forever.


That is an interesting point--for some reason, transit workers in many cities have wages, benefits, and working conditions FAR better than their peers (of equivalent skill level) in the private sector. One of the sad stories over the past thirty years is the decline of the situation of many private sector worries in much of the West, in particular the US. Now the situation seems to be in many places that public-sector unions are no longer viewed as beneficial, especially BY the working class. Labor probably has some blame for this situation--as many unskilled professions lost labor protection, the more skilled unions didn't fight hard enough to assist their brethren. Now there aren't many professions left with strong labor movements, and those that are left are widely regarded as parasites, often by the people who would benefit most from strong labor protection.


The switch, then, is to contracted service, which has its own problems in this era of bus industry consolidation. In my experience, I have found that most transit contract managers are either overwhelmed, not interesting in doing their job properly, or both. On the other hand, with technology, you could issue franchises for individual routes and use GPS and crowd sourcing to allow the public to essentially act as the contract manager, by highlighting where buses don't show up and either routing around those or by putting pressure on the contractor themselves through coordinated complaints.

Ted King

I would love to see a dollar figure for the implementation costs of the mini-TEP of 5 Dec.'09. The components would look something like this :
1) Draw new maps (new route, route w/ changes, system);
2) Prepare + print comprehensive documentation (including brochures and shelter maps);
3) Update websites;
4) Update shelters, poles, and paint (on streets and utility poles);
5) Update NextMuni control table (feeds signs at many shelters);
6) Distribute brochures via libraries, vehicles, and "ambassadors" (boots-on-pavement);
7) Brief drivers on new routes (may have included orientation rides);
8) Have the annunciator robot re-recorded (supposedly in Texas) including a tri-lingual (English, Spanish, Chinese) on "Der Tag";
9) Create a new route/destination sign module (electronic);
10) Update the buses with modules from #8 + #9;
11) Deploy chasers to sweep the dead spots for several days.

I don't think I left out much from the above list. I've used SFMuni and several of its neighbors since I was barely big enough to climb on board. Things change over the years but it remains a leviathan with a myriad of interdependent parts. The transition team seems to have gone at the changes with near-Prussian thoroughness. There were glitches (e.g. some of the NextMuni signs didn't show the "8X" route on Geneva Ave.) but the "Six Papas" credo was heeded.

I suspect that the MTA board may face a double revolt if they try to make any more cuts. The requisite disclosure of salary data and recent fare hikes (see below) has the ridership simmering like an early stage Krakatoa. Further service cuts could push them to a late stage Krakatoa (revolt #1). And since SFMuni management and the MTA board are hidden away in their offices it would be the line troops (drivers, field supervisors, fare inspectors, etc.) who would be the accessible targets. That danger would get the line troops to raise hell (revolt #2).

Six Papas = Proper Planning Prevents Piss-Poor Performance

Adult Fares [effective - single ride / monthly pass(es)] :
1 Jan.'09 - $1.50 / $45 (Muni + BART-in-SF)
1 July '09 - $2 / $55 (Muni + BART-in-SF)
1 Jan.'10 - $2 / $60 (Muni only)/ $70 (Muni + BART-in-SF)
P.S. The January, 2010 increase was NOT publicized in a timely manner. I wonder what kind of firestorm will erupt when the word gets around about the rest of 2010's fare increases.


Ted King

    The fuse has been lit :

SFGate (aka S.F.Chronicle) -
StreetsBlog S.F. edition -

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