Home

 
 SaveMuni

San Francisco's only independent transportation think tank

Transportation professionals, neighborhood activists and Muni riders working to find common sense solutions to City transportation issues

What is SaveMuni?

People often ask us what SaveMuni is and what it does. SaveMuni was established in early 2010 as an all volunteer, non-profit organization in order to help find ways of improving Muni.  For the first three and one half years of its existence, the group devoted itself primarily to pointing out the major conceptual engineering mistakes of the Central Subway project and to exposing the grossly inaccurate statements of the SFMTA and other promoters regarding its cost, ridership and trip times.  (For more about the Central Subway click here.)
 
Since mid-2013, SaveMuni has increasingly turned its attention to San Francisco's existing public transit systems...especially Muni...and how to make them better.  In other words we look for ways to reduce transit trip times, increase service where needed and improve on-time performance, safety and rider comfort.  As part of this effort we look at both the internal structure of the transportation agencies, especially the SFMTA, and the institutional and on-street obstacles that stand in the way of consistently reliable transit service.  An important part of this challenge involves the way municipal transportation priorities are established and how transit funds are allocated and spent.  At present time we are therefore paying a considerable amount of attention to the Mayor's transportation funding proposal, the long-delayed downtown extension of Caltrain, the SFMTA's Transit Effectiveness Project, the Van Ness and Geary BRT projects, and the assorted other subway plans being promoted by the SFMTA and Mayor's office.  

SaveMuni is determined to do eveything possible to assure that municipal transportation capital priorities are prudently established and that capital funds are properly used on behalf of bringing Muni and San Francisco's other public transit services up to their full potential.  This means good operations, well-maintained vehicles, fast and convenient connections between routes and other transit systems and financial viability.  Whenever possible SaveMuni will work with like-minded civic, business, labor, environmental, neighborhood and governmental organizations to achieve these ends. Read more about SaveMuni


      18 Positive Steps to a better Muni 

Along with virtually Muni rider, we'd look forward to the day when Muni is consistently providing optimal service to its patrons and would-be patrons.  Here are 18 ways of getting to that point.  Read more here

 

       Why Muni Must get Better      

Unlike an outlying suburban area, San Francisco is a densely built-up city requiring a highly efficient public transit system. When Muni falters, the lives of its 700,000 daily riders and 60,000 reliant small businesses are immediately impacted.  Because of its fiscal and operational problems, Muni is currently unable to provide an adequate amount of reliable service to the riders of its 75 existing bus and rail lines. Until something changes, beleaguered Muni riders will continue to experience a system continually plagued by excessive delays, gaps in service, breakdowns and frequent over-crowding. 

Given these factors, there is an immediate need to change the SFMTA's current way of doing things. As indicated above, fixing the system will take street changes, operations and maintenance improvements, working rule changes and capital priority adjustments.  Here's a summary: 

1.  Street changes:  The days when a city like San Francisco can afford to let its bus and train loads of transit users get bogged down in traffic are long gone. The City adopted a transit-first policy in 1971; it's time to make that happen. 

2.  Operations and Maintenance Improvements: There are literally dozens of ways of improving service and therefore attracting new fare-paying riders without significantly raising costs. Many good ideas evolved from SaveMuni's March 6, 2010 Transportation Summit and its August 18, 2012 Transportation Forum. For a list of 18 Muni improvement ideas, see above.   

3.  Working Rule Changes: A Muni driver has a difficult and stressful job. In addition, as the operator of an expensive vehicle filled with human beings, he or she has an important responsibility.  A qualified driver therefore deserves to be well paid. However, certain working rules interfere with SFMTA's ability to provide good Muni service in a cost-effective manner. These rules need to change. It continues to be our hope that the SFMTA and the Muni employee unions can jointly develop the needed changes in a civil and cooperative manner. 

4.  Capital Funding Priorities: Capital improvement priorities must be determined based upon a thorough and objective analysis of the alternatives.  Only projects of proven both cost-effectiveness and proven benefit to Muni riders should make the cut. 


For information about SaveMuni, click on: About SaveMuni.com or contact: 

Howard Wong: wongaia@aol.com,

Joan Wood: joanwood@earthlink.net

Howard Strassner: ruthow1@gmail.com

Jerry Cauthen: cautn1@aol.com

Bob Feinbaum: bobf@att.com  





*   *   *   *   *   *   *   *

Major Transportation Conference
Saturday September 6, 2014
10:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
Mark your Calendars 
S.F. Main Library,  Lower Level, Grove Street Entrance

Experts will speak on the potential for improving Muni, the Mayor's approach to transportation, how to reduce commute traffic, and ways of reducing the conflicts between cars, buses, bicycles and pedestrians.   There will be plenty of time for questions and comments from the those in attendance.




Mayor's Transportation Task Force Misses the Mark 
March 24, 2014

Early in 2013 Mayor Edwin Lee announced the formation of a 45-person Task Force, convened to develop a long range transportation plan for San Francisco.   Through a General Obligation Bond Issue, extension of the 1/2 cent transportation sales tax and increase in San Francisco's Vehicle License Fee, the Task Force developed a plan for the Mayor that would raise a total of $2.955 billion, to be spent on assorted projects over the next 20 years. 

Unfortunately the group was comprised mostly of individuals brought in to help win support for next November's ballot measures rather than develop a good transportation plan for San Francisco.  In fact, most members had little if any experience in the transportation field, particularly with respect to Muni and its huge backlog of unfulfilled capital needs.  A quick review of the 27 projects proposed by the Task Force shows that the result of the effort was a "transportation plan" in name only.  Read more here. 

         

Westbay Transportation Conflicts Fester for over a Decade
(updated May 31,2014)
   
No where is the lack of Bay Area regional transportation leadership more evident than in the chaotic interplay of the transportation agencies struggling to coordinate their activities along the San Francisco/Caltrain Corridor.



A Critique of the SFMTA's TEP
(Updated December 26, 2013)


SaveMuni has completed an analysis of the SFMTA's Transit Effectiveness Project (TEP).  While TEP is clearly the result of significant investigation and hard work, it unfortunately fails to address many of San Francisco's most critical transportation problems.  For a summary of our findings read here.


           
The Central Subway, SF's Gravina Island Bridge
 

For more information about the ill-conceived Central Subway and the grossly distorted cost, ridership and trip times claims that helped sell the project to an unsuspecting public, click here.


BART's Oncoming Transbay Capacity Crunch
(updated May 31, 2014)


BART's ridership is projected to rise from its current level of over 
400,000 riders a day to 700,000 riders a day or more by 2040.
This increase will severely overtax BART's transbay section, which is already overcrowded during certain hours of the day.
To delay the inevitable, BART plans to remove a substantial number of seats in order to make room for more standees and bicycles.   Despite these measures BART is projected to run out of transbay carrying capacity by about 2030, at which time the lack of adequate passenger rail service between Oakland and San Francisco will begin to constrain the economies of the Central Bay area.  Read more here.


*   *   *   *   *   *   *   *