Muni service may be on rebound 

Late-night service and buses on busy lines will be restored if Muni operators agree to a tentative contract deal that’s expected to save millions.

The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, which operates Muni, slashed service by 10 percent May 8 in an effort to save about $29 million a year. The cuts — the largest in the agency’s history — had riders on many of the bus and light-rail lines waiting longer to board fewer, more-crowded vehicles.

Under a deal announced Thursday by Mayor Gavin Newsom, Muni would begin rolling back the cuts Sept. 4 and fully restore the reductions by July 2011.

Newsom has publicly chastised Transport Workers Union Local 250-A for a lack of labor concessions and blamed the union for the May 8 service cuts, which were the second round of reductions within a year. On Dec. 5, Muni, which has 700,000 daily riders, also reorganized transit service, with many lines being reduced while others had an increase in service.

The push for concessions also came after Muni riders had been hit with two price increases in the past year for Fast Passes. Senior and youth passes also increased, as did the cash fare. Outrage about the price hikes and service cuts has resulted in rider protests and a move to change how Muni operators receive pay raises.

This is the second attempt Newsom has made to push a deal through that would save service. In February, Local 250-A leadership agreed to $14 million in concessions, but that deal was rejected by union rank-and-file. But labor leaders said this latest deal will garner support.

“I think the agreement will be something the drivers will lean much more favorably towards,” said Bob Muscat, chair of the Public Employees Committee, which has been at the bargaining table.

Muscat remained tight-lipped about the details, which Newsom said would ultimately save $19 million over two years.

Local 250-A members are set to receive a City Charter-mandated 9 percent raise July 1, the start of the new fiscal year. Though details are not being released until the deal is approved by union members, Newsom said the concessions save an estimated $9 million — the equivalent of what operators will receive in pay increases. Union members are expected to vote on the deal over the next two weeks, officials said.

The plans for restoring the service also hinge on the Board of Supervisors, acting as the San Francisco County Transportation Agency, to release $7 million in funding.

The combination of the union givebacks and the funds from the TA would allow the agency to begin restoring 55 percent of the service cuts starting in September, including evening service to all community routes.

“There’s not a large transit system around this country that isn’t talking about their second and third service cuts,” said Nathaniel Ford, executive director of the SFMTA. “And for us to be in a position to restore service cuts is a testament to ... our commitment to the citizens of this city.”

esherbert@sfexaminer.com


Bringing back buses

Starting Sept. 4, the SFMTA will restore service to the following bus routes:

Owl service will be every 30 minutes:

  • L-Taraval Owl
  • N-Judah Owl
  • 14-Mission Owl
  • 22-Fillmore Owl
  • 90-San Bruno Owl
  • 91-Owl

Evening service for all community routes:

  • 17-Parkmerced
  • 35-Eureka
  • 36-Teresita
  • 37-Corbett
  • 52-Excelsior
  • 56-Rutland
  • 66-Quintara
  • 67-Bernal Heights

Adding capacity on crowded routes:

  • 1AX-California A Express
  • 1BX-California B Express
  • 8X-Bayshore Express
  • 8AX-Bayshore A Express
  • 8BX-Bayshore B Express
  • 24-Divisadero
  • 44-O’Shaughnessy

 

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Erin Sherbert

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