muni_driver.jpgThe San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency board will hear a proposal this afternoon to make sweeping changes to the way transit riders can board Muni vehicles.

A presentation will be made at the meeting on a proposal to expand all-door boarding–which is currently used on San Francisco Municipal Railway light-rail vehicles–to buses and streetcars.

The changes are expected to reduce travel times across the system — Muni vehicles currently move at an average speed of 8 mph — save the agency money, and improve service reliability, according to the SFMTA.

The San Francisco Transit Riders Union’s Mario Tanev, the organization’s all-door boarding campaign coordinator, said the cash-strapped agency cannot afford not to make the changes.

“When a bus is slow and late, it costs the agency money,” Tanev said in a statement today. “Muni can’t afford it, and the riders don’t deserve slow buses. All-door boarding will both save money and ensure quicker trips.”

The agency has also said that reducing boarding time is the best low-cost alternative available for reducing transit time.

Currently, bus and streetcar riders must board through the front door, regardless of whether they are paying with cash or tapping their Clipper cards.

All-door boarding would allow passengers paying with Clipper to board through any door. Riders paying with cash would continue to be required to enter through the front door, pay the operator directly and receive a transfer as proof of payment.

Muni policy does not currently allow rear-door boarding, but the agency said that it has piloted rear-door boarding on buses traveling along Van Ness Avenue.

The SFMTA board of directors will hear the presentation at its regularly scheduled 1 p.m. meeting today in Room 400 at City Hall.

Patricia Decker, Bay City News

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