Passengers sound off at San Francisco MUNI public
By Emmett Berg, Bay City News Service
SAN FRANCISCO (BCN) - Dozens of San Francisco Municipal
Railway passengers attended a downtown forum last evening to examine
agency research and sound off on ways the transit system can improve
service and better protect riders.
The open house at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium promised free
refreshments and a drawing for a bus pass. Yet many riders in
attendance appeared to need no inducements to give Muni a piece
of their mind.
"I gave you a whole hour-and-a-half of my time on Saturday,"
one official responded, smiling, as a rider approached. "You
can't monopolize my time." The two spoke briefly and shook
hands before the rider moved on.
While some talked too much and others kept mum, poster paper
taped to a wall filled up with comments, including:
-- "Add direct weekday service from downtown to the Golden
-- "Make everyone pay fares;"
-- "Don't let people in the back door;"
-- "Connect the central subway to the Transbay terminal;"
-- "Make mothers with small children give seats to seniors;"
-- "Study how Octavia Boulevard configuration causes a.m.
delays for buses using Haight Street."
The meeting was Muni's second of three public forums to allow
riders a chance to see the progress of the agency's Transit Effectiveness
Program, a 16-month effort that began in May. The final open house
is set for Tuesday at 4:30 p.m. at the Southeast Community Facility,
at 800 Oakdale Avenue in the Bayview District. The outreach culminates
in a report to be delivered next summer on potential service changes.
Riders can play decisive roles in transit planning, said Russ
Chisholm, a transportation consultant hired by Muni. While some
suggested changes involve monetary costs that make them less practical,
other ideas can become reality, he said.
Peter Straus, a Muni manager for service planning, said route
changes to Muni's 56 Rutland line, which serves Visitacion Valley,
was an example of citizen input influencing transit routes.
Line 56 was rerouted to stop at John King Senior Center when
people stepped forward to report that seniors were commonly using
the line to reach the senior center. The change took 6-9 months
to implement, Straus said, after public hearings and other requirements
"The public process does influence the final product,"
Members of the public can email comments to Muni at email@example.com,
or by calling (415) 226-1313 or (415) 701-4599.
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