Muni summit aims to provide solutions 

Transit advocates, business organizations and community groups will meet this weekend to come up with their own suggestions to help keep the perennially debt-ridden San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency afloat.

On May 1, Muni service will be reduced by 10 percent, a change that will result in longer wait times for more-crowded buses. That reduction comes less than six months after a major shakeup to service resulted in the elimination of six Muni lines. Despite the cuts, the SFMTA faces a $56.4 million budget shortfall next fiscal year.

The deteriorating state of transit service in The City led to the Save Muni Summit, said Jerry Cauthen, a transit advocate and one of the event organizers.

Cauthen — a vocal opponent of the SFMTA’s Central Subway plan  — said the summit was created without any preconceived notions about the transit agency, and the event’s organizers are not attempting to pass off some sort of agenda. The objective is to focus on broad issues to help revive Muni’s struggling operations, without getting into details about specific shortcomings of the agency.

“People want to blame particular groups, but Muni’s problems aren’t just about management or labor,” Cauthen said. “There are some dynamite ideas out there that haven’t received a lot of press, and we’re going to let the people attending this summit get those views aired.”

The summit starts at 8:15 a.m. Saturday at the Women’s Building, 3543 18th St. It should last until 1 p.m.
“There are a whole lot of people who feel that Muni’s priorities are misplaced,” Cauthen said. “This is an opportunity for people to voice their opinions.”

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Will Reisman

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