datacollection.jpgAfter an Appeal reader spotted some Muni employees wearing wearing jackets that said “data collection” last week, several questions were raised regarding their role in the organization, questions that, at the time, the SF MTA could not answer. However, new information provided to us by the SF MTA last night answers many of those questions, including how much these employees are getting paid. Read on!

You might remember how we posted a picture sent to us by reader Mike, taken on Monday March 29 during the morning rush hour. According to Mike:

When I walked down the stairs I saw both of these “data collection” agents playing solitare on the PDAs they had attached to lanyards.

The one chewing his fingernail had just stopped playing when he noticed I was getting my phone out. As the train pulled away they both went and sat down on the old people benches. Not pictured are two other data collection folks shooting the shit.

At the time, Mike asked us “Do you have any idea what we are paying these guys to do??” However, despite their best efforts, even the SF MTA’s media relations team wasn’t able to find out for us. UNTIL NOW.

From SF MTA spokesperson Kristin Holland:

The SFMTA staff members you are referring to are called “Traffic Checkers.”

They were at Van Ness Station to count riders and record times. This data is used to develop our ridership statistics for National Transit Database (needed to receive Federal funding) and Prop E service standards for on-time performance, headway adherence, and maximum loads.

Holland helpfully included a link to the 9126 Transit Traffic Checker job description. Some highlights:

— Pay is 50,336.00-$61,204.00 a year
— “Required Skills” include “write figures legibly, sometimes in small spaces;”
— “Important Duties” include “assist schedule makers to investigate complaints from patrons;”
— AAAAND they are expected to “establish and maintain courteous and effective communications with others.”

Which means that I am completely unqualified to do the job as described. How about you?

the author

Eve Batey is the editor and publisher of the San Francisco Appeal. She used to be the San Francisco Chronicle's Deputy Managing Editor for Online, and started at the Chronicle as their blogging and interactive editor. Before that, she was a co-founding writer and the lead editor of SFist. She's been in the city since 1997, presently living in the Outer Sunset with her husband, cat, and dog. You can reach Eve at

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