newmunishelter.jpgThe Chronicle today discovers the same issue with some Muni shelters that the Examiner reported last November: rider complaints that the agency’s new $30,000 (says the Ex, the Chron says $10,000) bus shelters aren’t that sheltering at all, continue to rise.

As the Ex first noted in their Nov 22 report, the (at the time) 91 new shelters’ design “leave(s) anywhere from one-quarter to one-third of the shelter open and vulnerable to The City’s precipitation patterns,” causing one rider the paper spoke to to say that “(t)he seats are always wet when it rains.”

In response, Olle Lundberg, CEO of the local firm responsible for the design, countered that “the seats will drain off very quickly” and that “(i)f rain’s going horizontal, there’s not much you can do.” At that time, MTA spokesperson Paul Rose told the Ex that they’d only received one complaint about rain-allowing shelters.

Fast forward to Jan 3, and the complaints continue to rise — according to today’s Chronicle report on the same design issue, 100 new shelters have now been erected, and they’ve now received four complaints from wet riders, up three from late November’s Ex report. “Hell yeah, I’ve gotten wet. It drips all down the back of my neck,” one daily rider told the paper.

The Chron also reports that Lundberg admits that “(r)ain would have to fall at a 45-degree angle to get between the roof and the frame.” For those of you how imperfectly recall their geometry, here’s a 45 degree angle, hardly the same thing as “horizontal,” and not a terribly unusual angle to see rain falling in SF.

“It does, without question, compromise the shelter aspect of the shelter…I agree with the people that said the old shelter kept them drier” Lundberg is now admitting, saying that the open and leaky design is necessary to allow people in wheelchairs to use the shelters.

However, according to Lundberg, “you’re talking about a condition where you wish you wouldn’t be on Muni anyway.” (Attempts by the Appeal to reach Lundberg to find out when one does wish they were on Muni were not successful at publication time.)

According to Rose, the four complaints are “a small number considering the system has roughly 700,000 boardings each day,” but that seems like a flawed equation to me — we’re actually talking about 3 complaints, regarding 100 shelters, in about 7 weeks.

Sure, still not the most serious nor the most complained about issue Muni faces, but it appears serious enough that Muni has changed their tune since the end of November, when Rose told the Ex Muni “does not have any plans to reconsider the design.”

Rose is now saying that, according to the Chron, “Muni could consider adding panels to some shelters if there is a need.” What do you think, Muni riders? Is there a need?

Eventually 1200 of Muni’s shelters will be replaced by shelters with this new design.

Photo: Clear Channel press release

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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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