Though Muni’s 80 Neoplan buses are reaching the end of their useful lives, the SFMTA isn’t ready to part with those beloved vehicles just yet, planning a $21 million rehabilitation program for the coaches. But those fixed-up buses might come back to a lot less work, as the SFMTA is once again talking about reducing service for passengers.
As the Ex reports, the 80 ailing buses have been with Muni since 2000, which means they need new brakes, suspensions, transmissions, radiators, and more.
Most of these buses operate on such routes as the 71-Noriega, 28-19th Avenue, and 19-Polk. Though the plan is set to cost $21 million, SFMTA only has $12 million set aside for it, courtesy “federal and local sources.”
How will the MTA bridge that $9 million gap? That remains to be seen, but that didn’t stop the SFMTA board from approving the rehab plan Tuesday.
However, at Tuesday’s meeting, the SFMTA director Ed Reiskin also said that Muni “cannot afford to fund crucial programs, such as bus maintenance and cleaning, while maintaining its current levels of service,” reports the Ex.
The transit agency is looking at $19.6 million budget deficit for the new fiscal year, beginning this July, which means that the SFMTA is again considering “right-sizing its service,” as Reiskin described it at the MTA Board meeting Tuesday.
According to the Ex, Tom Nolan, president of the agency’s board of directors, said that potential service reductions seem “like a really good option.”
The SFMTA says they are planning a series of town hall meetings next month to collect feedback on the service reductions, as well as other potential revenue generators including extending parking meter enforcement hours and charging cash-paying passengers 25 cents for a transfer.