munipiece2.jpgTomorrow’s “Save Our Ride – Federal Transit Funding Rally” advocates taking a stand against increased fares, service cuts, and layoffs for operators. It pushes for, they say, changes that would lead to improvement of our public transit system. But as Greg Dewar, San Francisco’s prominent transit pundit and blogger, pointed out in a blog post earlier today – “is the rally really for you, the Muni/rider, or something else?”

While the root causes of issues with Muni aren’t in short supply, one issue many have focused on are issues with how federal money devoted to transit is allowed to be spent. At present, federal funds can be devoted to “infrastructure” projects (locally, that would be projects like the Central Subway), not day-to-day expenses. The stated purpose of this rally organizers’ national campaign is to change all that, for transit agencies across the country.

Dewar, however, looks at this rally more skeptically, and disagrees that that federal spending change would be much of a solution, at least in relations to the issues Muni faces.

Noting that the rally’s organized by several unions that represent transit workers, he tells me that he thinks there are local fixes that could be implemented that would be a quicker and better fix.

According to Dewar, multiple unplanned leaves by operators is also a problem, as that effects service times. He also feels that current rules disallowing part-time operators to step in when there are not enough full-time operators available bleeds the budget. Attempts to reach the rally’s organizers to run Dewar’s claims by them were unsuccessful, we’ll update if we receive a response.

One thing Greg Dewar said that I’m sure the rally’s organizers would agree with is that if individuals are concerned about the state of transit, they need to get involved, themselves. For some, that might be by attending this rally, for others, it might be by engaging in the Fix Muni Now campaign, for others it might be to back Supervisor Campos’ proposed Muni-specific charter amendments. We’re not advocating any of those, of course — we’re just showing you that if you want to have your voice heard, there’s plenty to do in addition to (the admittedly fun and cathartic) complaining on Twitter.

What: Save Our Ride – Federal Transit Funding Rally
When: Tuesday, June 29th, 2010 at 12-1 PM
Where: The San Francisco Federal Building, 450 Golden Gate Ave, San Francisco

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