munipiece2.jpgToday in news from our transit agency, Mayor Ed Lee appears to effortlessly make an appointment that took Gavin Newsom 9 months and countless meetings to make, Goodyear Peterson keeps earning its $100K, and traffic accident reporting cops get schooled by MTA employees. Hop aboard!

Muni’s Problems Not The Fault of Drivers, Says Driver
Over the past decade or so, Muni has significantly scaled back service–with last year’s cuts being some of the deepest in the agency’s history. These rollbacks are why, in a survey last year, only 13% of Muni riders thought service was improving even though Muni was hitting its highest ever on time percentage–just over 75%. All of the recent cuts are due to an ever-tightening budget squeeze MTA is largely blaming on its expensive contract with the operators union. In today’s Examiner, a driver responded to the accusation:

Muni operators had nothing to do with management’s decision to cut service three times in the last 11 years…We operators have nothing to do with shrinking the size of Muni’s fleet. These two decisions are the reason full buses have to pass up crowded stops. There is not enough service for the number of passengers. Service levels are solely the decision of management. Operators like me have no say at all.

MTA Gets Transit Activist Member
Earlier this week, Mayor Ed Lee selected Joel Ramos to be the newest member of MTA’s board of directors. Ramos will be replacing Cameron Beach, who passed away last month.

(It’s worth noting that Lee was able to replace Beach in less than a month — a far cry from Gavin Newsom, who had no untimely deaths to deal with when he allowed the SF MTA board to languish without all its members from April 2010 (missing meetings in the process) to January 2011.)

The new board member lives in the Inner Sunset, doesn’t own a car and rides Muni every day. So you know he’s legit.

Ramos has worked extensively with TransForm, an Oakland-based non-profit promoting walkable and transit-oriented communities in the Bay Area. His most recent project with TransForm is the Great Communities Collaborative, which works with low-income and minority communities to maximize land use around public transportation.

While TransForm is based in Oakland, Ramos has worked with the city of San Francisco on a long-stalled effort to turn Geary into a bone fide transit corridor with a dedicated mass transit lane and signal priority for Muni–exactly the type of forward-thinking changes that could actually get Muni’s on time percentage up to the lofty, voter-mandated 85%. Naturally, merchants in the area hated the idea and it’s been on-hold for years. See, this is why we can’t have nice things.

“As a regular transit rider and a daily bicyclist, Joel Ramos will bring valuable experience to the SFMTA Board as he is passionate about all modes of transportation, is a team builder that works with the community, and is focused on a transit-oriented City,” said Mayor Lee.

Muni’s PR Dollars Already Well-Spent
Remember yesterday when we were all, “Muni’s fancy new anti-union PR firm just sent us a press release about all the ways it could save money if it stopped giving its drivers nice things and boy is it fancy”?

Well, it happened. True story.

It looks like the Examiner got that press release too and they’ve reprinted it. Press release successful!

“[Muni] could be able to make up…[its $19.4 million] deficit easily,” the Examiner writes, “if it achieves the $26 million it thinks it can get in savings from labor negotiations with the transit operators union.”

It sounds so simple. All that needs to happen is the union has to be willing to give up paid lunches, switch out full-time workers in favor of part-timers, pay more for their pensions and eliminate the extra pay they get for working the night shift. Getting the operators union to agree to that shouldn’t be a problem, right? Right?

Don’t Park On Stockton Street
You’ll get towed. MTA is ditching the parking meters between Post and Campton streets and making it a no parking zone from 11am to 7pm. You’ve been warned.

SFPD Trains in Holistic Traffic Reporting
The traditional San Francisco way of determining who’s at fault in a traffic accident his been long-established. The culpability scale goes like this: pedestrian > bike (w/ brakes) > bike (w/o brakes) > hybrid car > motorcycle > regular car > pick-up truck > SUV & pick-up truck (w/ TruckNutz) (tie) > taxi cab > Hummer.

It’s an elegant system that’s worked flawlessly for years, but now some eggheads at MTA have gone and mucked it up.

MTA engineers are training SFPD officers to take a more holistic view of accident reporting that includes incorporating environmental factors when writing their narrative crash reports.

“They’re looking at more specifics, like the curvature of the road or the tracks on the road,” said San Francisco Police Department Captain Al Casciato. “If the person was a senior citizen, was there a senior center there? Did you notice anything about the trees and vegetation covering the sign?”

I think what he meant to say was that if the accident involves a guy on a fixed gear bike, the cops should count his tattoos. If he has more than three, throw him in the slammer. Case closed.

Seniors and Youths Need to Switch To Clipper Cards By June 1st
The old youth and senior discount Muni passes will stop working on June 1st, so the oldsters (65+) and the younguns (5-17) are going to have to switch over the new Clipper cards before that if they want to enjoy uninterrupted discounted service.

To assist people with the switchover, Muni will be holding card events with helpful “Clipper Ambassadors” at locations you can find here.

Muni Hates Tiny Horses

Muni was ready to ban every animal from their vehicles except service dogs, starting yesterday. But then they didn’t. But maybe you think they should? We report on the whole story, plus have a poll for your radio button pushing enjoyment. You’ll have to read it to get the tiny horse thing.

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