How Not To Run a Transit Agency That Always Pleads Poverty: Case #237,821 at the SFMTA

In case you hadn’t heard, the SFMTA, working on new ways to make your commute a pain in the ass, is pulling another one of its cuts in service at the end of March (ostensibly for “spring break.”) While people who work for a living will be inconvenienced, the agency will save a grand total of $45,000. Out of a
budget of $821 million.
$45,000 is not a lot of money. I mean, they could just simply fire one deadwood employee and have more than that to keep service running. My frustration with the SFMTA, as it has been for years, though is how this agency routinely plays the “we gots no money gimme more money” act when something like this is announced, and yet passes over way easier and better ways to “make money” that stare them right in the face?
Case in point: The replacement of all of the streets signs in San Francisco with the new “upper/lowercase’ style (mandated, by the way, by the Federal government in case you were wondering why they’re doing that). Right now you can buy old street signs from the 1940s era at the Cable Car Museum. It occurred to me the other day that now there’s a massive replacement of every single sign in town, surely said “obsolete” signs being pulled down now would be for sale there.
I called over there, and alas, this isn’t the case. Instead, they’ll likely all be recycled or dumped in a landfill somewhere. This is a classic case of a missed opportunity. I have bought SF street signs from the Cable Car Museum in the past, and they’re not cheap. That said, if I could get say, an “Irving Street” sign, a “Judah Street” sign, and so on, I’d easily pay $40-75 a piece. Heck, you could price them by popularity, and make a lot more than $45,000. Even better, do this all on line in the ALLEGED TECH CAPITAL OF THE SOLAR SYSTEM OR SO WE ARE TOLD. Isn’t our mayor the “tech mayor” or something like that?
Instead, we’re getting a service cut and told there’s “no money” for basic service at the end of March.
This is one of many missed opportunities. With all the people who are out there selling Muni themed merchandise, you’d think by now, again in the TECH CAPITAL OF THE GALAZY OMG, Muni would make a few bucks (maybe $45,000?) selling t-shirts and other items online, Zazzle style. When I wore my T-Third t-shirt one day I could not count the number of people who immediately asked “Where can I buy one?” (No, really, I don’t wear it anymore because I’m tired of having to tell them they can’t.)
Hell, I could run this and I wouldn’t need to have a six figure salary, personal chauffeur and the like. Oh wait, I already do. The point is not to get me a gig at the MTA, the point is that once again, low-hanging fruit like this (to borrow a phrase from my fundraising background) is passed by, due to excessive BS regulations at the City of SF, and because no one seems to see what they have right in front of them that could pull in a few extra bucks without a lot of overhead.
More to the point, if we did things like this, we wouldn’t have phony cuts like this “spring break” cut in service in March. Ah, well.
PS: Well, if Muni won’t sell things online, then I’ll fill the gap. Today (March 15th) you can use the code POTOGOLD at our Zazzle store, and you get 20% off select merchandise. Buy something today! Proceeds will go towards a charter ride on a historic streetcar if the N-Judah line is opened up once again to said streetcars. I’ll publish a separate post on that shortly.

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