Hopefully both Loyal Readers and New Readers saw today’s front page article in the Examiner today. Aside from the fact that Rockin’ Reporter Alex Rocha managed to talk to a certain local blogger, what’s more important is that MUNI is clearly feeling some heat to do something, anything, if not to totally repair the system, to at least make people feel better. Maybe doing this blog and publishing our comments isn’t futile after all? Hmm.
Fine. Here’s the thing. We can always talk about “common sense” solutions as citizens and users of MUNI, but the fact is, we’re not privy to the endless amounts of data, engineering, and whatnot that makes up running a mass transit system for a major US city. The good citizens on the MUNI Citizen’s Advisory Council deserve a lighter lit because they rock and a big thanks because they must possess the patience of Job to put in the (unpaid) hours to try and wrest some answers from MUNI. That said, when I read this whole “all options on the table” rhetoric, my DNFW antennae are raised.
Simple. We get the rhetoric of how they’re trying to “help” and sure, possibly, not having the N have to bottleneck at the overworked Embarcadero station should help, but does that mean that instead we’d just push the problem to the Caltrain station?
More to the point, Nate Ford, Ken McDonald and MUNI management have done a great job pointing out inherent systemic flaws in MUNI they’ve inherited that include inflexible workplace rules imposed by a Who-Gives-A-Frak Union, and systemic funding problems. OK, so how the heck do you overcome Said Frakked Up Stuff with a reshuffling of the MUNI cars that clearly aren’t enough to service both the KLM and N lines and the new T?
The Mayor has proposed pie in the sky feel-good chatter about “free” MUNI to placate opponents, while at the same time being a realist and alluding to big fare increases and big cuts as part of a “get tough on MUNI” posture to help himself.
Meanwhile, allegedly Communist Supervisors are daring to take on the political sacred cow known as a public employee union in the hopes of making MUNI more efficient with our tax and fare dollars. (Remember how Nate and Ken kept talking about how said inefficient rules and whatnots keep all those malcontent drivers and bad biz practices from making MUNI efficient?)
Break it down easier: you can’t reshuffle the deck and expect to play the game if you don’t have enough cards in the first place. MUNI? Media? Mayor? Board? Are you listening?
We want our MUNI to do what it did for decades sans BS – work for US not the few. We know it can be done. Surely if Curitiba, Brazil can do it, the“City That Knows How” can too?
Or have we just become the “City That Knows How To Whine, Obfuscate, Hide Behind Political BS, Let Morons Run the Show, and Let Down the Citizens of Our Fair City?”
Somehow this whole meeting seems like a good way to make it look like Muni is doing something while it really is not.
Even is that isn’t the case, I dearly wish that the N could start going back to Caltrain. It used to be so easy to hop on the N at ATT Park and get home. now it’s a never-ending journey.
First, thanks for this forum. I am not even a frequent N-Judah rider, but problems on the busiest rail line ultimately affect us all.
Tonight I had dinner with a friend in North Beach and after getting back to her hotel, I had to take the Metro home to near Castro. It was a little after 9 and I just missed an outbound M. The first announcement I heard said that an M would be coming in 5 minutes, but that quickly changed to N/N, J, J, J.
Apparently, even though the Metro was closed beyond Castro, there were no Castro shuttles in the subway yet, so it was about 20 minutes until a T-Third
finally showed up. NextMuni showed it being something like 45 minutes for the first Castro Shuttle to arrive. How can there be no Castro Shuttles yet? Of course, there were something like eight fare inspectors at Powell but no trains to Castro.
These constant problems frustrate people to no end. I really don’t like to drive unless absolutely necessary, but it seems to be heading that direction.
The main MUNI problem is one of reliability — if you can’t be sure if your commute will take 20 minutes or two hours, you’re going to be disinclined to ride the bus, free fare or no. Having lived in New York City, I’m used to paying much more for a monthly fare card, but there the system worked.
When lines were disrupted, signs were posted systemwide explaining the disruption and suggesting alternatives. Here you’re on your own — when a bus that’s supposed to come every 12 minutes doesn’t show up for 45 minutes, and even then doesn’t have space for additional riders, what can you do? Wait another 12-45 minutes and hope the next bus is less full or give up and walk or take a cab?
What do you do when after waiting a half-hour for an N, it finally arrives only to stop short and disgorge its passengers twenty blocks from your destination so it can head back to the Giants game? If MUNI wants to increase ridership, a TV ad campaign isn’t going to do it — they need to focus on getting the current system running reliably and on something approaching a schedule.
Really, I thought the dumbest decision in the whole T-Third fiasco was their flipping the J to go out to Caltrain. Why make the N, the busiest line, the one most likely to be carrying commuters that want to go to Caltrain anyway, empty all its passengers at Embarcadero — and make Caltrain service depend on the two slowest, most-empty, and most likely to be delayed lines in the City?
To me, the biggest thing with Metro is that they seem to be stuck in the notion that they should run all lines as if they were nonstop airline flights — so, as a result, we have half-empty J and T trains tying up the Market tunnel and late KLMs bottlenecking everything else. Would it hurt to try a little hub-and-spoke — like making the T end and turn around at Embarcadero, making the J end and turn around at Van Ness or Civic Center, and making the KLMs do the same at West Portal — and then running shuttle trains on a regular and tight schedule through the Market tunnel?
My initial reaction is: “What the heck took them so long to figure this out?”
The N-Judah service cut to Mission Bay was a grave mistake.
All that decision has done is increase commute times to Mission Bay by 15-30 minutes.
Put the N-Judah back to caltrain, put the 15 back in service and terminate the T at 4th and King and everything goes back to the way it was — not perfect – but not completely unacceptable like the current routes.
I agree with almost everything everyone else has said, run the N to CalTrain again!